A violent federal agency slips away from accountability

Federal Marshal's kill an average of 22 people a year whether they are bystanders or suspects - your Friday long read from The Marshall Project

We go to The Marshall Project for this weeks long read by Simone Weichselbaum , Sachi McClendon and Uriel J. Garcia, read the whole article “U.S. Marshals act like local police with more violence and less accountability.” We include key excerpts below to convince you it’s worth your time!

“The federal agency’s teams have killed an average of 22 suspects and bystanders a year.”

Detective Michael Pezzelle spent his last seven years on a suburban police force here amassing a body count. He was involved in shootings that wounded two people and killed five, including a teenage girl who died when he fired into a car she was riding in.
Pezzelle faced no public consequences. He retired in 2018 and at age 47 started to collect a pension of $62,220 a year. Today, he trains police officers around the country to follow the kind of advice he shared on Instagram: “Be polite, be professional, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”


We found that at least 177 people were shot by a marshal, task force member or local cop helping in a marshals arrest; 124 people, mostly suspects and a handful of bystanders, died from their injuries. In addition, seven committed suicide after being shot.
On average, from 2015 to late 2020, they shot 31 people a year, killing 22 of them. By comparison, Houston police reported shooting an average of 19 people a year, killing eight. Philadelphia officers shot an average of nine people a year, killing three. Both departments employ roughly 6,000 officers, about the same number who serve in the Marshals Service and on its task forces.

Bottom line

One of the big differences between marshals and regular police officers is when and how they can use force. Marshals are authorized to kill someone who poses an “imminent danger.” That’s a laxer standard than those recently adopted by California and New Jersey, where taking someone’s life is supposed to be a last resort.

Marshals focus more on making arrests than investigating crimes. Current and former marshals said fugitives are often on the run and can’t be found at the address listed on an arrest warrant. Rather than trying to get warrants to search additional homes, marshals prefer to capture their targets in public, a practice that can put bystanders in harm’s way.

A quarter of the shooting cases we compiled involved marshals or task force members firing into cars, 

Read the whole article here.

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