Video Shows U.S. Marshal Pointing Gun at Bystander: Was it Warranted?

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WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

Did a U.S. Marshal go too far when he pointed his gun at a man with a camera phone?

I suppose that’s the question.

Corterian Wright, the man with the phone certainly believes so. He was the one recording the law enforcement officers as they were taking his family member, Bobby Gibbs, into custody.

“I know it’s proper procedures for them to make sure they’re secured and safe, but after they secured my nephew and put him in the car, you made a statement by keeping your gun pointed and you turned your light on me,” Wright told a local NBC News affiliate.

Wright believes that the officer who pointed the gun should be reprimanded.

“It was like 12 officers in all,” said Wright. “Out of 12, 11 were very professional.”

Yet, the U.S. Marshal’s Office contends that the officer did nothing wrong, that he was simply following procedures. The office released the following statement:

Members of our task force were there to arrest a fugitive wanted for several violent felonies including Aggravated Robbery and Aggravated kidnapping. The fugitive was in an apartment which posed an unknown threat to task force members on the scene. As the fugitive emerged from the residence, he was taken into custody. In accordance with USMS policy, task force members secured the scene until the fugitive was secure and transported. Once the fugitive was transported, task force members left the area.

The video caught the eye of Tami Sawyer, a “Black Lives Matter” advocate. She called the encounter “pure intimidation,” and believes that a training overhaul for all the U.S. Marshals is in order.

“When you were done messing with them, you turned your back on them,” Sawyer said. “He didn’t back up with the gun. He turned around and got in the car. So how afraid were you really?”

Meanwhile, Wright just wants the agency to take action before the officer points his weapon at someone else, potentially putting them in harms way.

“They’re going to wait until somebody’s killed and then take action?” he asked.

Well, in looking at the video, what are your thoughts? Was the marshal simply doing his job and securing the area or was he wantonly pointing his gun at Wright?

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • jack daugherty August 15, 2016, 10:48 am

    Cops out ta control got to go! When did we become the “enemy”?

  • WendlMaster July 29, 2016, 10:29 pm

    I’ve taken a screenshot of this page and am going to keep in as a reminder to myself.

    All these “real american” type talk of rights, and their own preparation for governments over bearing hand on them that many predict to be an imminent reality, but when something as audaciously and overtly inappropriate, unwarranted, and outrageous as was done here, the chorus here is support for it and advocacy for it. What sane human can see this and view it as appropriate and proper? Dont answer that, it’s rhetorical because the comments give a clear enough answer.

    I’m under no delusion why that is.

    I pray that one day, what you support being visited on others is not done to you and yours.

    Many assert that the government is doing its part to keep the people divided. I dont. I just think this country and conservatives in particular that crazily lay some claim to be followers of Christ are some of the worst bigots anywhere. God is not in you. Not by a long shot. Not a solitary thing christlike in word or deed or intent. You bear his name falsely while serving another master.

    Oh, and dont worry. I’ll be sure to go f*%k myself over where I’m at.

    • jack daugherty August 15, 2016, 10:39 am

      Amen!

  • TCHall May 8, 2016, 9:05 pm

    Loudmouth ass running his camera and yelling… yeah I’d have made sure he was covered by a shooter until the whole crew was ready to leave the scene.

    I tend to believe that folks making the mouth noises I heard in the video are ready to escalate the situation given an opportunity.

    For all we know that marshal could have been loaded up with beanbag rounds…

  • John October 6, 2015, 11:34 pm

    Give him an inch of authority, and he’ll stretch it a mile.
    If he was worried about anything, why’d he turn his back and walk away like there was no chance of a threat?
    If I felt I had to protect my team and I from a possible threat, the threat doesn’t end when you’re walking away, unless you your backside is bulletproof, and you can’t piss anyone off anymore without smirking while pointing a gun in their face.
    Point a gun in anyone’s face, anyone, and your going to piss them off, point a gun in the wrong guys face, and someone’s going to die, he could’ve lowered in just a few inches, and still been on top of his game.

    • Kalashnikov Dude October 7, 2015, 3:02 pm

      Exactly John! This I can say, if somebody, anybody aims a gun at me they had better never turn their back and walk away. That’s the opportunity I will use to defend myself. I have no idea whether this idiot is going to turn back around and start shooting. The Federal Marshall’s ought to be disbanded. From what I’ve seen on their television show, they are extremely unprofessional and often times downright dangerous with firearms. For full disclosure, I am a white, Christian, male who demands all the rights outlined but not limited to our Bill Of Rights and US Constitution. All attempts to curtail or erode these rights will be considered an act of aggression from enemies foreign or domestic. They will be dealt with appropriately.

  • Rollin Shultz October 6, 2015, 1:46 pm

    Whatever happened to “never point a gun at anything or anyone you don’t intend to shoot”. Did someone fail basic gun safety? Pointing guns at people offensively is asking for trouble. Someone looking for a payday may try to get shot so they can sue later.

  • Bruce October 6, 2015, 6:00 am

    From an ex-LEO standpoint, I would say the officer did as required until the situation was done/over. He appeared to be the “cover” person for the team of officers, (depending on the situation there can be more than one cover person assigned). As to him pointing his gun and turning on the flashlight, (and since I wasn’t there), every situation is different. The article states they were there effecting a FELONY warrant for Aggravated Robbery and Aggravated Kidnapping. Aggravated Robbery means the robber was armed with a deadly weapon, had an accomplice, or actually inflicted serious bodily harm on the victim. Aggravated Kidnapping is almost the same meaning, (the kidnapper was armed with a deadly weapon etc). So, right at the start we know the suspect had probably had a deadly weapon and if he didn’t have it when he came out of the house, where was it? Did one of the other people in the house have it? Was there another accomplice and if so, was he there? It only takes an instant for someone to pull out a gun and if you’re the cover person with your gun pointed to the ground, you won’t have time to stop the person from getting off at least one shot. If you allow that one shot, it could be the one that takes you out, thereby exposing the rest of your team to being shot/wounded and/or killed. Also, try to envision this, during the daytime when standing outside of a residence with people inside, you can’t see into the residence due to the daylight causing reflections off the glass in the doors and windows. The officer needed to see the people immediately inside of the door/windows to make sure they weren’t pointing a gun/getting ready to shoot the officers outside. It’s the opposite at night time, usually people have lights on inside of a residence and you can see them from the outside through the glass. The only time you can reasonably see inside a residence during the daytime is if there is an area on the opposite side of the residence, (such as a glass sliding door), that has a large area of daylight exposure as well. That area then cancels out the reflections on the glass in the front IF, (and only if), you’re in the right position. Also, with it appearing to be a cloudy/overcast day, I doubt there would have been sufficient light source from the other side of the residence to allow seeing inside, (even if you were in the right position). So in my opinion, the officer acted accordingly to what the situation warranted. It doesn’t appear that he lost his temper, he made no threatening/taunting/menacing remarks, (unlike the person taking the video and his guests/relations). The suspect was arrested and the officers went home that night to their families.

    • Michaelw October 6, 2015, 11:39 am

      Very well said, probably the most reasonable/sensible observation to this particular senerio.

  • tom October 6, 2015, 12:29 am

    This is normal sop. They’ve taken out a fugitive from a house in a bad neighborhood with apparantly a good amount of his friends around. These friends were in violation of the law for “harboring a fugitive.”. The officer is protecting his fellow officers and the prisoner while they are securing him safely in the vehicle.
    This extra care happens much more frequently to make sure nothing will come loose in transport and that the Baltimore incident is very rare, and is something the Marshals service is the best in
    the world at . Of course our black friends are instigating in the background, but this deputy handled it well. And now there is a fugitive in jail and no civil disobedience. Good job guys!!

  • RetiredOfficer October 5, 2015, 9:26 pm

    I wonder how many of the people questioning /condemning the actions of this officer have been even remotely close to being in a high risk, high stress environment involving the unpredictability of human beings. If you are someone who truly has been in such situations, you know the hazards of questioning the actions of those in similar situations because tomorrow you may find yourself the one on video on the internet with people questioning your actions. My suggestion to all of you people who have the luxury of sitting safely on your couches and watching a video from behind your computers should keep your ill informed comments to yourself and not question the actions of someone in a situation about which you have no idea what all is actually happening behind the camera (because we all know a video doesn’t tell the whole story of what is going on at a scene).

  • DisgustedCitizen October 5, 2015, 8:39 pm

    Having years of LE experience (plus military and firefighter experience) I’d say that the officer would have done his job just as effectively with the weapon at low ready. This would have (probably, you never know with people like this) not been viewed as being as aggressive as aiming the weapon directly at them. I’m not saying he did anything wrong, just that there are ways to do the job and not appear to be stepping on your Johnson at the same time.

  • DisgustedCitizen October 5, 2015, 8:38 pm

    Having years of LE experience (plus military and firefighter experience) I’d say that the officer would have done his job just as effectively with the weapon at low ready. This would have (probably, you never know with people like this) not been viewed as being as aggressive as aiming the weapon directly at them. I’m not saying he did anything wrong, just that there are ways to do the job and not appear to be stepping on your Johnson at the same time.

  • Gary October 5, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Point #1 Officer Correct
    Point #2 Cameraman or bystanders at an arrest site should not provoke an Officer or interfere in any manner (verbal included)
    Point #3 If as much as a broom stick had been pointed out window there may have worse things to talk about
    Leave it alone.

  • John Klumpp October 5, 2015, 3:45 pm

    This Marshal could not have been more right. His job is to protect his teammates from any possible harm. He would have been NOT doing his job to have lowered his weapon, even if Christ himself was in that house. Does anybody reading this would think that this “Black lives matter” activist would be saying anything if he had not kept his weapon at the ready and these people in the house opened fire on them to keep there relative from being taken into custody?

  • oldfuzz695 October 5, 2015, 3:18 pm

    Did you hear the gutter language from the complainants? Rule # 1 for perps and cops, 1. Don’t let your mouth get your ass in trouble. I commend the officer for covering his squad. Numbnuts, you have no case!

  • Robert Hardy October 5, 2015, 12:31 pm

    The officer was just being a dick when he asked them to go in the house any they did to continue to point the gun at them was not necessary he was trying to get a rise out of the people that’s why he turned on the flash light officers like him don’t need to be on the force

  • A. Contreras October 5, 2015, 11:32 am

    Alert in the dirt. Nuff said.

    Tagging people like that is irresponsible.

  • mitchb October 5, 2015, 9:20 am

    That officer needs to join the military and go to iraq or afganistan if he wants to harass civilians.

  • dale October 5, 2015, 8:40 am

    If I was that worried about dangerous behavior I think I might want those people to stand outside instead of inside where they could get a rifle and shoot me dead through the window.

  • LHTwist October 2, 2015, 8:03 am

    It looked justified to me. There should always be at least one man standing guard over the rest whenever there’s an aggravated crowd.

  • Mike October 1, 2015, 6:20 pm

    The one officer pointing the firearm into the residence was offensive. I don’t know what happened before the video, so I can’t speak to why the officer would have the gun pointed at the bystanders to start with. But when he asked that they go inside and they did, his continuing to aim at the bystanders through the window was not necessary.
    I have no doubt this officer wanted a confrontation and had no intention of deescalating anything. I suspect without a camera as witness, this officer would have been even more aggressive.

    • Oaf October 5, 2015, 3:08 pm

      So by your reasoning, several men standing in a doorway being disruptive and taunting the officer while they arrest one of their colleagues pose no threat to the officer’s safety?Are they armed? Do they have a long gun just inside the doorway? The officer doesn’t know and neither do you. How long would it take for one of them to rush out the door, or even fire through the glass in an attempt to free their buddy? A pane of window glass makes for a very poor ballistic shield! And please explain to me how the officer was aggressive. Those taking the video were not “bystanders” but friends of the suspect involved in the arrest. The officer was professional and followed procedure in protecting himself, his team, the suspect, and even those videoing. It’s obvious by your comment that you know nothing about apprehending high risk suspects or dealing with criminals.

      • RJ October 5, 2015, 4:03 pm

        If he was really that concerned, would he have turned his back on them to get the vehicle? Please.

        • Oaf October 5, 2015, 7:43 pm

          Ignorance is bliss…………………

      • issaac October 5, 2015, 5:21 pm

        so now “taunting” a police officer is grounds for getting a gun trained on you inside your own home?

        you are all about “innocent until proven guilty” and a civilian’s rights until you see a situation where you don’t like the civilian because he’s mouthing off (which isn’t illegal in this country…yet). Well you can’t have it both ways. How do you know that the friends were violent people? Police in this country have lost all benefit of the doubt and they have nobody to blame but themselves.

        • loupgarous February 4, 2017, 2:05 pm

          During a takedown, ANY hostile behavior by bystanders may be the prelude to a shooting by the people bringing the hate. And that’s just what these guys were doing, “hating on” the officers. The marshal was fully justified in securing his fellow officers AND the person they were detaining (who might have been shot if a friend of his decided to open fire and was just a lousy shot). Don’t interfere with a LEO doing a high-risk job, you’ll never stare down the muzzle of his gun.

    • avgjoecitizen October 5, 2015, 5:26 pm

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

  • DRAINO October 1, 2015, 5:00 pm

    It is what it is. Unsure of what the people in the house might do, I would probably do the same thing. The marshal was diligently covering his team. While I won’t disagree that he may have been enjoying the fact that these people were agitated, I still don’t see that he did anything wrong, since they were there to arrest someone. Many officers have been shot serving warrants. These people were agitating the marshals just as much though, hoping to catch them doing something wrong to get a lawsuit. Kind of a dumb thing to do, but I expect no less from people who use such foul and offensive language. I see no issue with filming, but the taunting wasn’t necessary. The language just shows their ignorance. Elevate yourself above the ghetto.

    • bob October 7, 2015, 10:10 am

      Seems to me low ready would have been sufficient. I don’t particularly like having firearms pointed at me.

  • chris October 1, 2015, 2:37 pm

    I didn’t even look at the video because it is so irritating to hear an advocate for the “Black lives matter” movement to say that she thinks that the U.S. Marshals service needs a training overhaul. Well let’s just start taking recommendations from anyone who has no experience or knowledge on the matter of apprehending dangerous criminals as well as someone who does not put their life on the line to take dangerous criminals off the street. Sounds like a great idea! How about this, how about not harboring fugitives of justice that have committed several violent criminal acts. Don’t want a gun pointed at you as the U.S. Marshals service is doing their job? then hang out with the right kind of people and don’t take that or make that a racist thing, it’s about hanging out with people who don’t break the law and who accept responsibilities for their actions. Funny how “Black lives” have only mattered in the past year or two when a white police officer shot someone in the line of duty, but it never really mattered enough to have a movement when your local pimp or drug dealer was who was black was killing another black man or black on black gang members killing each other. Well now it’s time to applaud yourself, good job.

    • Archangel October 5, 2015, 5:48 pm

      The personality profile of those who tend to seek out LEO positions is more often in line with those they are supposed to be protecting society from.
      I personally know of three “bad apples” who successfully became cops, 1 a city cop down south (multiple strong arm robberies before joining), one a California CHP (was the guy people went to when buying drugs) and 1 Contra County Deputy Sheriff (serious perjury, and was even proud of it with a “what’s the difference” attitude).
      The problem is there is all too often an abuse of power, like a cop pointing a gun at someone who is no threat in any way, or assaulting someone to justify an arrest for resisting arrest when there was no legal reason to arrest in the first place.
      There are videos of cops committing all kinds of crimes like cold blooded murder, and even with video evidence are rarely prosecuted.
      Kill a cop and the automatic reaction is to charge them with CAPITOL MURDER, even if the cop was breaking the law and the person was rightfully protecting their life against a bad cop.

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