Judge Releases Video Showing Officer Shooting Defendant in Utah Courthouse

A federal judge released courtroom video Monday of the fatal 2014 shooting of a defendant who attacked a witness with a pen during a racketeering trial.

The video below contains graphic content.

The 24 seconds of video show Siale Angilau, a member of the Tongan Crips gang, stand up from the defense table, grab a pen or pencil and run over to the witness stand before hurdling himself over it.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," someone yells as the witness, another gang member who is shackled and chained, manages to escape into a corner of the courtroom.

The video shows the deputy U.S. marshal, identified in court documents only as Jane Doe, unholster her gun and fire four shots at Angilau while backing up.

"Drop the pen. Drop the pen out of your hand," an officer can be heard yelling at Angilau, who can't be seen behind the witness stand.

The video is pixelated to obscure the judge, officers and others in the courtroom.

Along with making the video public, U.S. District Judge John Dowdell dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Angilau family claiming excessive force in the shooting.

"The video completely contradicts plaintiffs’ argument that Angilau stopped posing a danger within less than one second of launching himself over the witness stand while making a stabbing motion with a pen in hand," Dowdell wrote in his ruling.

"Angilau was in custody, but he essentially had escaped custodial control for those seconds during which he was executing his plan to assault the witness," the judge wrote. "His attack was stopped by the shots that Jane Doe rapidly fired, in less than one and one-half seconds."

An FBI investigation found the shooting was legally justified.

Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary ordered the release of a pixelated version of the video obscuring faces of law enforcement officers and others in November, but the Department of Justice objected. Dowdell sided with Cleary's order Friday.

The Angilau family's attorney argued that the witness got out of the way in time and wasn't in danger by the time the marshal fired the four shots at Angilau.

"Those last three shots were all after he's been shot once down on the ground in the back, and that's the problem I have with this case. There was no necessity to use force," Robert Sykes told the Deseret News.


Sykes said he's glad the video was made public but that the Angilau family still wants justice and that it's up to them to decide if they want to appeal the judge's ruling dismissing their lawsuit.

Angilau's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the shooting was "particularly unreasonable, reckless and constitutionally excessive." The family had been allowed to view the video before it was released.