Members of the FBI community on Tuesday came out in support of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent on trial for murder in the Virgin Islands.
Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association, which includes about 12,000 current and former agents, called on the Virgin Islands Superior Court to throw out the case against ATF Special Agent William G. Clark, who claims he shot and killed a neighbor in the U.S. Caribbean territory in self-defense. Motyka said his organization “stands firmly” behind the ATF agent.
“Special Agent Clark’s actions were in accordance with established rules and policies, and as such, the shooting was ruled justifiable by the ATF Shooting Incident Review Board (SIRB),” Motyka said in a statement. “Despite this, Special Agent Clark was charged with Second Degree Murder by the Attorney General’s Office in the U. S. Virgin Islands.”
Clark faces charges stemming from the fatal 2008 shooting of Marcus Sukow during a domestic dispute between the man and his girlfriend. Clark’s trial began Monday. (Read our four-part series on the case here.)
The ATF removed its agents from the Virgin Islands in November 2008 amid growing frustration with territorial authorities. There were about four agents in the territory.
Harry Rodriguez, an FBI spokesman for Virgin Islands operations, told Main Justice that the FBI has kept agents stationed in St. Thomas and St. Croix following the fallout from the Clark case. But he declined comment on the number of agents in the territory.
Motyka said federal agencies with a presence in the Virgin Islands have advised their agents to be especially careful if the interact with territorial law enforcement officials.
“This is out of concern that their officers may not be able to perform their duties safely if they can be charged for crimes in that Territory in the commission of their sworn duty,” Motyka said. “This only hurts the citizens of the Virgin Islands.”