News and Press Releases

Tyrell James Henderson Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that on September 28, 2011, in Great Falls, after a federal district court trial before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, TYRELL JAMES HENDERSON, a resident of Box Elder, was found guilty of assault on a federal officer. Sentencing is set for January 2, 2012. He is currently detained.

At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.

On November 5, 2010, at approximately 11:40 p.m., an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management was on patrol on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation near a DUI checkpoint. The agent observed occupants of a parked vehicle nearby that appeared to be watching the DUI checkpoint. The agent approached the parked vehicle and it drove away, down nearby Mack Road. The agent recorded the vehicle on his radar exceeding 50 miles-per-hour, which is over the posted speed limit. The agent then initiated a stop of the vehicle.

The agent testified that when he approached the vehicle, the driver immediately stepped out of the driver's seat and approached the trunk of his car. The agent had to verbally command the driver to return to the driver's seat. The agent then approached and received identification from the driver, and the agent then noticed a male in the passenger seat, later identified as HENDERSON. Two other male individuals were in the backseat. The agent observed a twelve-pack of Bud Light Lime in the backseat.

The driver again attempted to exit the vehicle while the agent was calling for backup assistance. The agent told the driver it was illegal for him to possess alcohol as he was under the age of 18. The agent then looked at HENDERSON in the front passenger seat, who had an object in his hands, between his legs. The agent observed HENDERSON holding a samurai sword in his lap. The agent drew his service weapon and instructed HENDERSON to put the sword on the dashboard. HENDERSON complied, and the agent holstered his weapon. The driver began to ask why he was stopped, the agent repeated his explanation, and began to cuff the driver for being a minor in possession of alcohol.

At this point, the agent saw HENDERSON exit the passenger side of the vehicle. The agent left the driver standing on the driver's side in cuffs and the agent rounded the vehicle to where HENDERSON was exiting the car.

The agent testified that HENDERSON then immediately ran directly at the agent and punched him in the face. HENDERSON attempted to strike the agent again, but the agent was able to deflect the blow. HENDERSON was grabbing at the agent's service belt, in the area where his weapon was holstered, but was only able to grab the agent's flashlight, which he then dropped on the ground.

HENDERSON continued to push the agent, grabbed the agent's jacket, and delivered two knee-strikes to the agent's right side. The agent was able to throw HENDERSON over his right shoulder and he landed on his head and shoulder. There was so much force, the agent came down on top of HENDERSON. Once on the ground, HENDERSON continued to resist, fighting and kicking. The agent was forced to deliver a series of knee blows and elbow strikes to gain control.

Then, HENDERSON was able to turn over, face up, and continued to struggle against the agent. The agent was then forced to choke HENDERSON with his left hand and pin down HENDERSON's left arm with his right hand. He was yelling at HENDERSON to comply and put his hands above his head. After gasping for air, HENDERSON finally complied and the agent was able to cuff him. By this time, two tribal officers had arrived. They were able to attend to the other passengers, who by this time had also exited the vehicle, while the agent dealt with HENDERSON.

HENDERSON was sitting on the ground crying, complaining that the agent had broken his shoulder, that he was just trying to get away, and he denied that he struck the agent. When the agent confronted HENDERSON about the punch to his face, and the deliberate knee strikes, HENDERSON apologized.

The agent photographed bruises, scrapes and redness on HENDERSON's body, as a result of the altercation. Officers also photographed redness on the agent's right cheek. The agent's right shoulder, right side, and head were all tender and sore from the altercation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael T. Wolfe prosecuted the case for the United States.

HENDERSON faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Land Management.



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