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Killing of Iraqi Civilians Index

Killings Database – Year 2004

 

 

The Sadr City Murders

 

Background

Media Reports

Government Reports

Photo Credits

 

Background - August 2004

 

“Members of the U.S. Army’s 41st Regiment uncovered an AK-47 during a routine search in the dangerous Baghdad slum of Sadr City on Aug. 31. Finding a weapon was not unusual, but Sgt. Michael P. Williams, 25, said he felt danger when he saw a smirking Iraqi man in the house where the gun was found, according to the testimony of fellow soldiers. ‘I feel threatened,’ Williams declared, the soldiers recalled. The ‘Iraqi went for his weapon.’ Moments later, Williams shot the Iraqi man with two bullets to his head and chest, according to testimony last Friday at a military hearing, known as an Article 32 proceeding, intended to decide whether Williams would face court-martial in the killing. Other members of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Regiment, said the Iraqi did not have a weapon. […]”

 

Excerpt of a Washington Post article from December 14th, 2004.

Sadr City in 2005

 

Media Reports

 

August 2nd, 2006 - Criminal Cases Against U.S. Soldiers Stemming from Deaths of Iraqis

1 news article by the Associated Press

 

November 18th, 2005 - Kansas: Soldier Recants Iraq Accusation

1 news article by the New York Times

 

November 17th, 2005 - Soldiers Lied over Iraqis’ Deaths

1 news article by the Associated Press

 

December 14th, 2004 - Two Days in August Haunt Charlie Company

1 news article by the Washington Post

 

Government Reports

 

Court-Martial of Michael P. Williams

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 1

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

“General Court-Martial Order - 15 March 2006

 

“Sgt Michael P Williams, U.S. Army, C Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team (10th Mountain Division), 3d  Infantry Division (Forward), Camp Liberty, Iraq APO AE 09352, was arraigned at Camp Liberty, Iraq on the following offenses at a General Court-Martial convened by Commander, 3d Infantry Division (Forward).

 

“Charge I: Violation of Article 118, UCMJ. Plea: Guilty, except the words, of the excepted words: Not Guilty; of the substituted words: Guilty. Finding: Guilty.

 

“Specification 1: At or near Al Thawra, Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 28 August 2004, with premeditation, murder an unknown male Iraqi national by means of shooting him with a rifle. Plea: Guilty, except the words ‘with premeditation.’ Finding: Guilty.

 

“Specification 2: At or near Al Thawra, Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 28 August 2004, with premeditation, murder Mr. Rahirn by means of shooting him with a rifle. Plea: Guilty, except the words, ‘with premeditation,’ substituting therefore, ‘engaging in an act which was inherently dangerous to another and showed a wonton disregard for human life;’ of the excepted words: Not Guilty; of the substituted words: Guilty. This is the named lesser included offense of Article 118, sub 3. Finding: Guilty, except the words, ‘with premeditation,’ substituting therefore, ‘engaging in an act which was inherently dangerous to another and showed a wonton disregard for human life;’ of the excepted words: Not Guilty; of the substituted words: Guilty. This is the named lesser included offense of Article 118, sub 3.

 

“Charge II: Violation of Article 134, UCMJ. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.

 

“The Specification: At or near Camp Liberty, Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 28 August 2004 and between on or about 19 September 2004, wrongfully endeavor to alter the testimony of SPC May and SPC Young as witnesses before a U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command investigation in the case of himself by encouraging the aforementioned witnesses to ‘just stick to the story’ and thereby testify falsely before such investigation. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.

 

“Additional Charge: Violation of Article 81, UCMJ. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.

 

"The Specification: At or near Al Thawra, Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 28 August 2004, conspire with SPC May to commit an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to wit: murder Mr. Rahim, with premeditation, by means of shooting him with a rifle, and in order to effect the object of the conspiracy, the said SPC May did shoot Mr. Rahim with a rifle. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty […]

 

“Sentence - Sentence adjudged on 13 May 2005: To be reduced to the grade of Private (E-I), to be confined for life with eligibility for parole, and to be discharged from the service with a Dishonorable Discharge.

 

“Action - Only so much of the sentence as provides for reduction to the grade of Private (E-I), confinement for 25 years, and a Dishonorable Discharge is approved and, except for the part of the sentence extending to a Dishonorable Discharge, will be executed. The reduction to the grade of Private (E-1) was deferred effective 17 may 2005 and is terminated this date. The forfeiture of all pay and allowances, as required by Article 58 b, Uniform Code of Military Justice, was waived effective 17 May 2005 until 17 November 2005. The accused was credited with 243 days of confinement against the sentence to confinement. By Command of Major General Webster […]”

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 2

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 3

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

“[…] US v. Williams discussion of evidence, credibility of witnesses, and sufficiency of proof, With regard to Specification 1 of Charge 1 (Premeditated Murder): Alleged Premeditated Murder of an Iraqi LN at the OP

 

“Recommendation: That the charge of Premeditated Murder (Article 118) be removed and replaced by a charge of Voluntary Manslaughter (Article 119) and that the Charge of Article 119 (Voluntary Manslaughter) be forwarded to a General Court Martial Convening Authority for prosecution in that SGT Michael P. Williams, US Army, did, between on or about 18 August 2004 and 31 August 2004, at or near Al Thawra, Baghdad, Iraq, willfully and unlawfully kill an Iraqi national by shooting him with a rifle[.]

 

“Additionally, that SPC Tulafono S. Young US Army, be charged with Attempts (Article 80), for the violation of the crime of Voluntary Manslaughter (Article 119), in that he did, between on or about 18 August 2004 and 31 August 2004, at or near Al Thawra, Baghdad, Iraq, attempt to willfully and unlawfully kill an unknown Iraqi national by shooting him with a rifle.

 

“Elements: (a) That a certain named or described individual is dead. Based on the testimony and evidence received I believe that an Iraqi LN was shot by Sgt Williams and/or SPC Young from the OP. SPC Young, PFC Sickels and PFC Romriell indicated that the dead body of a Iraqi local national (hereinafter ‘LN’) found at or near the location where SGT Williams and SPC Young are alleged to have shot a LN some hours earlier was the same LN that was alleged to have been shot at by SGT Williams and SPC Young. SGT Bowman described seeing a man on the ground in that location, approximately 100 meters northwest of the OP with a bloody shirt during the exfiltration of the squad. PFC Romriell described that upon return of his squad to the OP location several hours after exfiltrating that location, he observed a dead LN with a bloody, white or stripped t-shirt at or near the location where he saw a LN lying motionless immediately following shots fired in the direction of the LN by both SGT Williams and SPC Young. PFC Romriell also indicated that he saw bullet wounds on the individual. SPC Young also described the individual that approached the OP as wearing a white t-shirt. SPC Young and PFC Romriell both testified to the presence of a single individual that approached the OP location at that time and there was only one deceased body found at the base of the OP the following morning. […]

 

“(c) That the killing was unlawful. I believe the killing in this specification was unlawful. Article 118 (Murder) paragraph (c) 1. states, ‘Killing a human being is unlawful when done without justification or excuse.’ There was no hostile act or hostile intent testified to that was committed by the LN that approached the OP.

 

“Testimony from PFC Romriell indicates that the LN was not an immediate or direct threat to the soldiers at the OP. There is no testimony that the LN was ever noncompliant. PFC Romriell testified that he saw the LN waving a flag as he approached the OP and that he believed the LN was trying to communicate some message to the individuals at the OP, though no ‘flag’ was found when the deceased LN was observed several hours after the shooting near the OP. No testimony from any witness identified the LN with a weapon, nor did any witness identify as a hostile act or as hostile intent any behavior on the part of the LN, except that the LN’s mere presence was threatening. […]”

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 4

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 5

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 6

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 7

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 8

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

“[…] United States v. Williams, Michael P. - Stipulated Facts

 

“1. Prior to deployment while stationed at Fort Riley the accused made repeated comments while training his squad to the effect that ‘we will not take any enemy prisoners of war’ and ‘we should kill the oldest male of fighting age.’ After deployment the accused continued to make these same comments on a regular basis.

 

“2. On the morning of 28 August 2004, 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon, C Company, 1st B attalion, 41st  Infantry Regiment (C/l-41 IN), led by Sergeant (SGT) Michael P. Williams, took part in a cordon and search operation in the Al Thawra section of Baghdad.

 

“3. During the course of this operation, 2nd Squad entered a house with a gated courtyard. Inside, the Squad found a single unidentified Iraqi male civilian and detained him in the courtyard. During the ensuing search, an AK-47 assault rifle and three magazines of ammunition, two more than the accused to be authorized, were located in a room in the house. SGT Williams sent both teams out of the courtyard, but ordered his teamleaders, Specialists (SPC) Tulafono S. Young and Alan C. Crandall to remain in the courtyard.

 

“4. SGT Williams ordered SPC Young and SPC Crandall to bring the unidentified Iraqi male and the AK-47 into the house. SGT Williams then shot the unidentified Iraqi male twice with his rifle. SGT Williams overreacted to the situation because he didn't know where the AK-47 was. SGT Williams was aware that the AK-47 had been given to SPC Crandall to be cleared prior to the AK-47 being brought into the house. SGT Williams did not have the situation under control. These gunshots fired by SGT Williams were the proximate cause of the death of the unidentified Iraqi male. SPC Young and SPC Crandall then left the house and rejoined their teams outside the courtyard. At the time SGT Williams shot the unidentified Iraqi male, the man was not threatening SGT Williams or any other person. The unidentified Iraqi male was not armed at the time SGT Williams shot him. At the time of the shooting, SGT Williams did not establish whether the unidentified Iraqi male presented a threat, acted too quickly and his response was not proportional, using deadly force when other means where available. This shooting was unlawful in that SGT Williams had no justification or excuse to kill the unidentified Iraqi male. [charge I, spec 1]

 

“5. Following this shooting, SGT Williams ordered 2nd Squad to move forward and continue searching houses in the area. At some point, A Team, 2nd Squad moved off to conduct searches independently. SGT Williams remained with B Team, 2nd Squad.

 

“6. A Team, 2nd Squad approached a house with a gated courtyard. At this residence, A Team, 2nd Squad encountered an Iraqi family consisting of Mr. Arkem Yosef Rahim, his wife, their teenage son and daughter, and their infant granddaughter. After securing the family outside the courtyard, A Team, 2nd Squad proceeded to search the house. During the course of the search, A Team, 2nd Squad found an AK-47 assault rifle, several magazines of ammunition, and a revolvertype pistol, which the accused believed exceeded what he was allowed.

 

“7. After finding the AK-47, SPC Young attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach SGT Williams over the radio. Soon afterwards, however, SGT Williams arrived at the house. Leaving SPC Young outside with the rest of his team, SGT Williams proceeded into the house.

 

“8. A short time later, SGT Williams returned and instructed Mr. Rahim to go into the house. Mr. Rahim was cooperative and complied with the instructions given to him by SGT Williams. Once inside the house, SGT Williams ordered SPC Brent W. May to put Mr. Rahim at gunpoint. SPC May, asked SGT Williams ‘can I shoot him?’ to which SGT Williams replied ‘just do your fucking job.’ SPC May then fired two rounds from his M16 assault rifle into Mr. Rahim’s head, mortally wounding him. SPC May had no justification for shooting and killing Mr. Rahim. The shots fired by SPC May were the proximate cause of the death of Mr. Arkem Yosef Rahim. At the time SPC May shot Mr. Rahim, Mr. Rahim was not threatening SGT Williams, SPC May, or any other person. Mr. Rahim was not armed, was physically incapable of harming SGT Williams or SPC May, and was neither committing a hostile act nor demonstrating hostile intent towards SGT Williams or SPC May. At the time of the shooting, SGT Williams did not believe that Mr. Rahim presented a threat, nor did he feel provoked by Mr. Rahim. SGT Williams knew that SPC May was antagonistic and continually sought to engage Iraqis. SGT Williams knew that SPC May thought the ROE was ‘bullshit’ and didn’t do anythng to rein in SPC May. SGT Williams encouraged SPC May’s illegal conduct by commenting during pre and postdeployment training ‘we will not take any enemy prisoners of war’ and ‘we should kill the oldest male of fighting age.’ The manner in which SGT Williams conducted his training encouraged SPC May’s agmessive demeanor. SGT Williams knew that SPC Mav had photographed dead dodies before, constidly spoke of engaging Iraqi’s as targets without justification and knew SPC May was easily angered when told not to engage innocent Iraqis. SPC May’s shooting of Mr. Rahim was unlawful, and SGT Williams had no justification or excuse for putting SPC May in a position where he could kill Mr. Rahim. SGT Williams had trained SPC May for the 6 months prior to deployment and was responsible for SPC May’s actions by failing to correct his conduct or bring his concerns about SPC May to his superiors’ attention. SGT Williams did not intervene where it was foreseeable that SPC May would likely kill without justification if given the opportunity. SGT William’s indifference to the danger May posed the Iraqi allowed SPC May to kill Mr. Arkem Yosef Rahim without cause. SGT Williams handling and training of SPC May demonstrated his wanton disregard of the dangers SPC May posed to human life. [charge I, spec 2] […]”

 

April 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Michael P. Williams - Volume 9

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary

 

Court-Martial of Brent W. May

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 1

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,9 MB)

 

“General Court-Martial Order […] 15 December 2005

 

“SPC Brent May, U.S. Army, C Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 2d  Brigade Combat Team (10th Moutain Division), 3d  Infantry Division (Forward), Camp Liberty, Iraq APO AE 09352, was arraigned at Camp Liberty, Iraq on the following offenses at a General Court-Martial convened by Commander, 3rd Infantry Division (Forward).

 

“The Charge: Violation of Article 11 8, UCMJ. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty, but guilty of the named lesser included offense of unpremeditated murder.

 

“The Specification: Did, at or near Al Thawra, Baghdad, Iraq, between on or about 18 August 2004 and on or about 31 August 2004, with premeditation, murder Mr. Arkem Yosef Rahim by means of shooting him with a rifle. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty, but guilty of the named lesser included offense of unpremeditated murder.

 

“Sentence - Sentence adjudged on 9 April 2005: To be reduced to the grade of Private (E-I), to forfeit all pay and allowances, to be confined for five (5) years, and to be discharged from the service with a Dishonorable Discharge.

 

“Action - The sentence is approved and, except for the part of the sentence extending to a Dishonorable Discharge, will be executed. The accused was credited with 220 days of confinement against the sentence to confinement. […]”

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 2

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,3 MB)

 

“Memorandum for the Record - 20 September 2004

 

“2. I have probable cause to believe that SPC May has committed offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which charges will be referred to a General Court Martial, to wit: Murder, in violation of Article 118, UCMJ, and rendering a False Official Statement, in violation of Article 118, UCMJ.

 

“3. Continued pretrial confinement is necessary for the following reasons:

 

“a. SPC May has committed offenses triable by court martial. On or about 28 August 2004, SPC May shot and killed an lraqi national who had been detained by Multi-National Forces (MNF) in Sadr City, Iraq. While conducting a cordon and search in the area, SGT Michael Williams, SPC May’s Squad Leader, ordered a family of lraqi nationals who resided in a building being searched to move outside the residence while it was being secured. Once the residence was secured, SGT Williams separated an adult lraqi male from the family and brought him inside the residence with SPC May. SGT Williams then ordered SPC May to shoot the lraqi male. SPC May complied and shot the lraqi national twice in the head; the lraqi national subsequently died of his wounds.

 

“On 15 September 2004, while undergoing questioning by CID agents, SPC May stated that he knew nothing of the events in question. During further questioning on 18 September 2004, however, SPC May recanted his prior statement and confessed to shooting the lraqi national. […]”

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 3

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (9,5 MB)

 

“[…] Specialist Tulafono S. Young, U.S. Army, was called as a witness for the prosecution, was sworn, and testified in substance as follows: […]

 

“[…] Q. Okay, Sergeant Williams brought him back in to the building, I just - I want to make sure I understand this.

A. Yes, sir.

Q. You witnesses that?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. What was your assessment of that individual at that point and time?

A. He was civilian. He was - my assessment at the time he was no threat to us.

Q. Okay, he was no threat, there was no PID, he was under your control, would you define that as a non-combatant?

A. Yes, sir. […]

 

“[…] Q. I just want - this is important for me to understand as the investigating officer. There’s no doubt in your mind that you heard him say - please state it again.

A. Yes, sir. I heard him say it.

Q. What did he say?

A. His exact words ‘Can I shoot this guy?’.

Q. ‘Can I shoot this guy’ and you heard that clearly?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, you are a team leader.

A. Yes, sir.

Q. You've seen an individual, which to me you’ve identified as a non-combatant, brought back into the building.

A. Yes, sir. […]

 

“[…] Q. Okay.

A. He came outside and I kind of had an idea of what was going to happen but Sergeant Williams had taken control. Came out and grabbed the guy and took him in and that’s all I heard. I heard Specialist May saying that and moments later I heard that shots fired. […]”

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 4

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (10,9 MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 5

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (9,2 MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 6

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (7,4 MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 7

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (4,5  MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 8

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (5,8 MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 9

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (9,1 MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 10

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (10,5 MB)

 

January 20th, 2006 - Court Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 11

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (12,1 MB)

 

September 30th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 1

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (6,3 MB)

 

September 30th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 2

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (5,0 MB)

 

September 30th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 3

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (7,0 MB)

 

September 30th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Brent W. May - Volume 4

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (7,6 MB)

 

 

War Scenes from Sadr City

After car bomb attack

Dead man in a coffin

Boy sits beside sewage

 

Photo Credits

 

Background

 

1) Trash pile in Sadr City - As the occupation of Iraq continues, the infrustructure of most Iraqi cities and towns continues to remain in a state of disrepare. Sadr City in Baghdad is said to be the worst in the country. The amoung the most basic of things, the neighborhood lacks electricity, water and sewage. - July 24th, 2005 - Christian Peacemaker Teams;

 

War Scenes from Sadr City

 

1) Sadr City residents stand next to a pool of bloodied water after Thursday’s bomb attacks in the largely Shiite area of Baghdad. - November 23rd, 2006 - Kareem Raheem/Reuters;

2) Dead man in Sadr City - April 2004 - Scott Taylor;

3) Boy sits beside sewage. - July 24th, 2005 - Christian Peacemaker Teams;

 

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