Sept. 16, 2007 Baghdad Shooting Investigation (DOJ Prosecution)
In December 2008, a federal grand jury indicted five Blackwater Worldwide security guards on charges of manslaughter and weapons violations for their involvement in the deaths of 14 civilians and the wounding of 20 others in a firefight in western Baghdad on September 16, 2007. A sixth guard pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and attempt to commit manslaughter. See Blackwater USA instance, “USA v. Ridgeway (Sept. 16, 2007 Baghdad Shooting)”.The guards claimed that they came under fire from armed insurgents and shot back only to defend themselves. In December 2009, the court dismissed all charges due to prosecutorial misconduct. In April 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the lower court to reconsider whether there was tainted evidence against four of the five defendants (the Department of Justice dismissed charges against a fifth defendant). In October 2013, a federal grand jury re-indicted four of the former guards. In October 2014, all four defendants were convicted of the deaths of 14 Iraqis and the wounding of 17 others: Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder; Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard were convicted of voluntary manslaughter, attempted voluntary manslaughter, and firearms charges. Slatten was sentenced to life in prison; Slough, Liberty, and Heard were sentenced to 30 years. In August 2017, an appeals court threw out Slatten’s first-degree murder conviction and ordered resentencing for Slough, Liberty and Heard. In December 2018, a jury re-convicted Slatten of first-degree murder. Slatten was again sentenced to life in prison. In September 2019, the court reduced the sentences of Slough to 15 years, Liberty to 14 years, and Heard to 12 years and seven months. In December 2020, President Trump granted full pardons to Slatten, Slough, Liberty and Heard.
- Misconduct Type
- Human Rights
- Enforcement Agency
- Contracting Party
- State Dept.
- Court Type
- Found Guilty
- Date of Original Indictments
Abtan v. Blackwater (Sept. 16, 2007 Baghdad Shooting)
USA v. Ridgeway (Sept. 16, 2007 Baghdad Shooting)