Posted: November 3rd, 2006 by Militant Libertarian
I’m amazed this man still has a career, let alone is running for office! I’m sure that this was the dues he had to pay to climb the ladder…
Ruby Ridge revisited: Deval let sniper off the the hook
By Kimberly Atkins
Read original here: http://news.bostonherald.com/localPolitics/view.bg?articleid=165265&format=text
As the Justice Department’s chief civil rights prosecutor, Deval Patrick made the controversial decision not to criminally prosecute an FBI sniper who shot and killed an unarmed woman as she held her infant daughter in her arms during a 1992 standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
The incident, in which U.S. Marshall William F. Degan of Quincy and the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver were killed during an 11-day standoff, is cited by experts as the spark that started the anti-government militia movement that exploded after the standoff in Waco, Texas, less than a year later.
In 1994, Patrick, the Democratic candidate for governor who was then assistant attorney general, concluded there was insufficient basis to prosecute FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi for shooting and killing 43-year-old Vicki Weaver. Horiuchi had testified that he opened fire on the woman’s husband and his friend, Kevin Harris, when he thought they were about to fire on an FBI helicopter.
Patrick made the recommendation despite a report by a task force assembled by Patrick’s boss, Attorney General Janet Reno, that found numerous problems with the FBI’s handling of the standoff, and called the protocol used by the FBI’s Hostage Rescue unconstitutional under the circumstances.
The report referred the case to Patrick’s department to decide whether to charge Horiuchi. Aides to Patrick said he was unavailable for comment because he was preparing for last night’s debate.
Former Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin called the incident “a tragic one that occurred during the final months of the first Bush administration.”
“The Justice Department believed the critical element of willfulness necessary for a criminal civil rights prosecution could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt,” Marlin said in a statement to the Herald yesterday. “Such willfulness, or knowing, intentional use of unreasonable force could not be made out against the FBI agent.”
Patrick’s assessment, he noted, was“reaffirmed by a separate criminal investigative team.”
In 1995, however, a Senate subcommittee headed by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) found “simply no justification” for the shot Horiuchi took that killed Vicki Weaver and “missed the 10-month-old baby in her arms by less than two feet.”
“Horiuchi should have known that as he fired blind through the cabin door, he was shooting into an area which could well have contained Vicki Weaver and her two younger daughters,” states the report, which took no position on whether Horiuchi should have been prosecuted.
The decision not to prosecute was ripped by both conservative and liberal groups. “It was obscene,” said author James Bovard, an outspoken critic of federal officials’ handling of the case. “There was no need for the excessive force the FBI used in gunning down a mother holding her baby.”
ACLU Legislative Counsel Timothy Edgar said the incident was “the result of overzealous – and unchecked – federal power.”
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