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Congressman Continues to Apply Pressure on Virgin Islands to Drop Murder Charge Against ATF Agent

Rep. Chris Lee at press conference
Rep. Chris Lee at press conference

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) continued to apply pressure Thursday, holding a press conference near the Capitol in an attempt to get the Virgin Islands to drop murder charges against  ATF agent Will Clark who shot and killed someone in September 2008 during a confrontation.

“Will was doing what his training and his background taught him to do – he was coming to the aid of a battered woman,” Lee said in a statement issued  after the press conference, which was attended by members of the law enforcement community. “I’m pleased to join with a bipartisan group of senators and representatives to call attention to Will’s heroism and question his treatment in this case. America’s brave law enforcement officers need to know they will be supported for courageous and lawful actions to defend the innocent, not prosecuted for it.”

The incident in question happened on Sept. 7, 2008, in St. Thomas, where Clark was living at the time. He had been stationed in the Virgin Islands to help battle the territory’s problem with gun violence.

According to accounts by the ATF and Rep. Lee, Clark left his apartment that morning and found his neighbor Marguerite Duncan crying and trembling.

“She pleaded for his help, knowing that Clark was a federal agent,” Lee wrote to congressional colleagues in a June 30 letter trying to stir support for his resolution backing the agent.

The woman’s boyfriend, Marcus Sukow, who was naked and supposedly intoxicated, reportedly started pounding on her car hood and throwing large landscaping rocks.

According to Lee, Clark tried calming the man, to no avail. The man allegedly made threats and eventually came charging at Clark with a Maglite flashlight, which is considered a potentially lethal weapon. The agent opened fire, killing Sukow.

An ATF shooting review panel found that Clark acted reasonably in the situation.

John Adler, president president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), who also attended the press conference, issued a statement later saying:  “Special Agent Will Clark is a hero and should not be charged as a criminal.

“The U.S. Virgin Islands’ indifference towards the rule of law may have a fatal impact on law enforcement officers intervening in domestic violence cases.”

In July,  the congressional delegate from the Virgin Islands Donna M. Christensen told AOL News that she felt Lee was trying to meddle with a case that is “rightfully before the court.”

She said she has been reluctant to second-guess “my police and attorney general, who felt there was enough of a question that excessive force was used.”


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