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Federal government asks to seal video of Salt Lake courtroom shooting

FILE - Siale Maveni Angilau "” aka "C-Down" "” was shot multiple times in the chest Monday, April 21, 2014, at the new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. He was shot after lunging at a person on the witness stand, according to the FBI. Attorneys for th
FILE - Siale Maveni Angilau "” aka "C-Down" "” was shot multiple times in the chest Monday, April 21, 2014, at the new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. He was shot after lunging at a person on the witness stand, according to the FBI. Attorneys for the federal government have motioned to seal the video of Angilau that shows him getting shot.
Matt Powers, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for the federal government want a judge to seal from the public video of a man who was shot and killed in a court.

In a motion filed Thursday in response to the family's wrongful death lawsuit, government attorneys claim that video and audio recordings prove that a U.S. marshal's deadly force against Siale Angilau, 25, was necessary and justified.

However, releasing the video to the public would compromise courtroom security and put individuals shown in the recording at risk, the motion claims.

Angilau was shot April 21, 2014, when he grabbed a pencil or pen and charged at a fellow gang member who was testifying in a racketeering case at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. Angilau was the last of 16 Tongan Crip Gang members being tried under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The U.S. marshal who shot Angilau has never been identified but was cleared in the shooting following an FBI investigation.

Angilau's family filed the lawsuit in September, calling his death "particularly unreasonable, reckless and constitutionally excessive."

Members of the Angilau family and their attorney, Bob Sykes, have been allowed to watch the courtroom video but were not provided with a copy. A coalition of Utah journalists led by the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists are also pursuing a joint request for the video's release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The motion filed Thursday claims that releasing the video would reveal the location of cameras, which are used for security purposes rather than to make a record of court proceedings, and compromise courtroom proceedings such as moving judges, court staff and jurors to and from secure areas of the building.

Government attorneys also claim that releasing the video could spur retaliation by members of the Tongan Crip Gang.

According to the motion, extra security precautions were taken after the shooting to protect the judge in the case, witnesses, court staff and U.S. marshals who were in the courtroom. TCG members were allegedly trying to identify the marshal who shot Angilau and were "making revenge threats against individuals, including witnesses and law enforcement officers," the motion states.

A status conference in the lawsuit is scheduled for Nov. 28.