Pre-dawn raid in fatal ATF shooting of Arkansas airport director caught on security footage, no body cam recording

Malinowski was shot in the head 57 seconds after authorities entered his home after having already been there a couple days before.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA

The House GOP Judiciary Committee released security video surveillance footage on Thursday, revealing that Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) officers gathered in a parking on two separate days before raiding Bryan Malinowski's home and killing him.  

ATF agents shot and killed Malinowski, 53, of Arkansas, in March on allegations of illegal firearm sales. Malinowski was the executive director of Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas.  

According to the video footage, ATF agents involved in the search warrant operation assembled in a parking lot on March 12. The raid was later called off after the agency realized Malinowski was not home, the House GOP said.  

Agents reassembled in the parking lot once again on March 19 to conduct the raid after confirming he was home. Before sunlight at 6:01 am, ten carloads of federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and Little Rock police officers dressed in full-tactical SWAT gear arrived at Malinowski's home in West Little Rock.  

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), committee chairman, noted that ATF agents were not wearing body cameras during the raid, which is a policy requirement.  

"What are they trying to hide?" asked Jordan. "This is the weaponization of government if I’ve ever seen it." 

Video footage shows law enforcement arriving at his doorstep before the footage cuts out. According to court documents, Malinowski was shot in the head 57 seconds after authorities entered his home. Malinowski reportedly exchanged gunfire. His wife was standing right next to him when he was killed.  

According to an affidavit released shortly after his death, Malinowski was under investigation by the ATF for illegal firearm sales. He purchased at least 150 guns over the past three years and sold them at gun shows after allegedly attesting they were for personal use.  

Court documents state that some of the firearms Malinowski had sold ended up in the hands of people who were not legally allowed to buy guns.  

Bud Cummins, the attorney representing the family of the late Malinowski, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and said that the ATF conducted the raid in the morning to catch Malinowski off guard, which is normal practice for the federal agency.  

According to the Arkansas Times, Cummins said that the search warrant was executed "no-knock" style, though it's unclear if agents knocked on the door.  

While the attorney asserted that law enforcement has the right to return fire if fired upon, Cummins said the search warrant was illegal because of "forced entry." He also said that due to the large size of Malinowski's home, occupants were given no time to answer the door.  

"The point is that everything that created that situation was incompetent, unnecessary, and reckless," said Cummins.  

The search was set to take place a week earlier by federal investigators, but Cummins stated they had to reschedule it when they discovered Malinowski wouldn't be home.  

He stated that unexpected searches that occur so early in the morning when the person is at home happen "quite a bit" in federal law enforcement.  

"They want the [investigation] target there because they want to surprise them," he said. "It's part of the reason they go at 6 am. … They want [the residents] in their nightclothes. They want their hair [messed up]. They want them scared, angry, shocked."  

"I would suggest that the tactics that were used in the Malinowski search would be incompetent and reckless if it was a very serious crime," Cummins added. "It’s even much more offensive because this is not a serious crime that they suspected. It’s probably the lowest level crime that would even be drug into a United States attorney’s office."  

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