REPS LIEU AND RICE CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) urged Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz to open an investigation into whether U.S. Marshals task force officers had legitimate grounds to kill Michael Reinoehl, a suspect sought in connection of the death of a pro-Trump protester. The letter is in response to a New York Times investigation and statements from President Trump that prompted questions about whether law enforcement officers made any legitimate attempt to arrest Mr. Reinoehl prior to his death. Both Reps. Lieu and Rice are former prosecutors and are calling for an investigation to determine if an extrajudicial killing occurred in Mr. Reinoehl’s case.
In the letter, the Members wrote:
Dear Inspector General Horowitz,
On September 3, members of a U.S. Marshals’ task force killed Michael Reinoehl, who was suspected of murder. A New York Times investigation casts doubt on whether the officers had legitimate grounds to kill Mr. Reinoehl. Based on accounts from eyewitnesses, the Times reconstruction of what occurred “raises questions about whether law enforcement officers made any serious attempt to arrest Mr. Reinoehl before killing him.” On October 15, Donald Trump stated, “We sent in the US Marshals, took 15 minutes it was over … They knew who he was, they didn’t want to arrest him and 15 minutes that ended.” We respectfully request you open an investigation to determine if an extrajudicial killing occurred in this case.
Extrajudicial killings in the U.S. are illegal. As former prosecutors, the whole point of our jobs was to provide due process to those accused of crimes. Under our Constitution, the federal government cannot deprive a person of his or her life without due process of law, regardless of what crimes they are suspected of committing. The members of the U.S. Marshals’ task force were legally authorized to use deadly force only if they or another person faced an imminent threat from Mr. Reinoehl. Based on both the reporting from the Times and the words of Donald Trump, that does not appear to be the case.
We request you open an investigation into the killing of Mr. Reinoehl. There are many questions to be answered, including but not limited to:
- Were the U.S. Marshals given any type of order or suggestion that they kill Mr. Reinoehl without trying to arrest him first?
- Did the President give any orders or suggestions to the U.S. Marshals related to the killing of Mr. Reinoehl? If so, what was that order or suggestion?
- Did the Attorney General give any orders or suggestions to the U.S. Marshals related to the killing of Mr. Reinoehl? If so, what was that order or suggestion?
- Did the U.S. Marshals have legitimate grounds to use deadly force?
- What attempts, if any, were made to first arrest or subdue Mr. Reinoehl?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Ted W. Lieu Kathleen Rice
Member of Congress Member of Congress