No Charges in Deadly ATF Arkansas Home Raid

Beth Brelje
By Beth Brelje
June 15, 2024US News
No Charges in Deadly ATF Arkansas Home Raid
An armed ATF agent reaches toward the doorbell camera at the home of Bryan Malinowski, moments before disabling the video and breaching the door with a tactical team, in a predawn raid March 19, 2024. (Malinowski Family via Bud Cummins)

The use of deadly force was legal and justified in the ATF’s March 19, early morning shooting death in the West Little Rock, Arkansas home of Bryan Malinowski, according to Pulaski County Prosecutor Will Jones. In a June 14 letter, Mr. Jones announced there would be no charges in the case.

Mr. Malinowski was executive director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock until that morning, when a convoy of 10 law enforcement vehicles rolled into his upscale neighborhood and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), holding automatic rifles in the ready position, placed tape on his video doorbell, announced their presence, and in less than one minute, broke into the home while he was sleeping. Mr. Malinowski, a gun collector, woke up, grabbed his gun, exchanged gunfire with the ATF, and Mr. Malinowski was shot dead in front of his wife.

The ATF had obtained a warrant to search his home for guns and evidence. The agency believed Mr. Malinowski was selling guns without a $200 Federal Firearms License (FFL) and without asking buyers for the proper information. According to an affidavit of probable cause, some of the guns he had sold were recovered during the commission of a crime, although the crimes did not involve the direct use of guns.

It is unclear why the ATF did not contact Mr. Malinowski at his workplace or during normal waking hours.


Mr. Jones said the incident was recorded by a Little Rock Police Department mobile video recorder and from that he shared the timeline in his letter.

6:02:58 a.m.—The Little Rock patrol officer employed his vehicle’s emergency lights and siren to announce the presence of law enforcement.

6:02:59 a.m.—ATF agents began a series of knocking and announcing the ATF’s presence.

6:03:27 a.m.—Agents use a ram to breach the door.

6:03:43 a.m.—Mr. Malinowski fires the first of four shots from his Colt Defender .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

6:03:44 a.m.—ATF agent returns fire; discharging three shots.

Mr. Jones also included a summary of the witness statements and evidence, although he did not identify the witnesses.

“The first agent (Agent 1) to enter the residence looked to his left and saw Mr. Malinowski at the end of the hallway pointing the handgun at him. The agent immediately dropped to the ground and rolled to avoid potential gunfire. The second agent to enter (Agent 2) saw Mr. Malinowski firing downwards at Agent 1. At this time, Agent 2 was struck in the foot. As Mr. Malinowski raised his gun towards Agent 2, Agent 2 fired, striking Mr. Malinowski. Immediately after the shooting, officers requested emergency personnel and begin [sic] administering medical aid to Mr. Malinowski.”

A law enforcement officer is justified in using deadly physical force if the officer reasonably believes force is necessary to defend himself or another person from the use of deadly force, according to the Arkansas code Mr. Jones cited.

“Prior to entering the residence, the officers identified themselves as police by initiating the lights and siren of a patrol vehicle that was parked in front of the residence” and knocking on the front door, he said. Agents also wore clothing marked ATF or Police on large letters.

According to previous statements from Mr. Malinowski’s wife, the couple was sleeping when the ATF knocked.

“The state’s investigation didn’t attempt to make independent judgments about whether ATF violated the law when they broke down Mr. and Mrs. Malinowski’s front door. But that question should be a matter of grave concern for the rest of us,” Bud Cummins, the Malinowski family attorney told The Epoch Times in a statement.

He noted Mr. Jones’s letter shows armed agents waited “a mere 28 seconds” after knocking and before breaking down the front door of Mr. Malinowski’s home. Mr. Jones said legally, law enforcement must give the person inside a reasonable amount of time to get to the door and to admit them voluntarily before forcibly entering.

A search warrant, Mr. Cummins said, is not automatically a license for a home invasion.

“How long is it reasonable to wait for someone to answer their front door at 6 a.m. in response to unexplained loud pounding in a 3,000 square foot fully insulated home? Let’s pray the answer isn’t 28 seconds. The Fourth Amendment means more than that to every single one of us,” Mr. Cummins said. “This is not over.”

From The Epoch Times