Grand Lodge News

Special Agent Will Clark Vindicated

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, hailed news of the acquittal of William G. Clark, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was been unjustly charged for actions he took in defense of his life and that of another citizen.

“It’s definitely a case of justice prevailing,” Canterbury said. “I am sure he is relieved, as many Federal law enforcement officers are, but he never should have been charged in the first place.”

The case against Special Agent Clark rested on a curious interpretation of law in the U.S. Virgin (USVI) Islands. The territorial court ruled that ‘not every provision of the Constitution is applicable in the Virgin Islands’ and that, therefore, Special Agent Clark was not to be granted immunity as a Federal agent for the actions he took in the line of duty. This ruling allowed the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the USVI to prosecute him despite the fact that the shooting was ruled justifiable.

“The court’s interpretation on this point is farcical,” Canterbury said. “And it is one that has hurt the citizens of the Islands, as ATF withdrew all of its agents and other Federal law enforcement officers were reluctant to render aid for fear that their law enforcement activity could get them charged with a crime.”

Canterbury, along with thousands of members of the Fraternal Order of Police, wrote in to support Special Agent Clark. The National FOP urged Congress to examine the Federal laws governing the territories to assure that the full force of the Constitution is applied so that no future law enforcement officer will face these circumstances.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 328,000 members.

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