Soldier Faces Court-Martial for Civilian Shooting

Sgt. Derrick Anthony Miller accused of shooting unarmed man
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2011 9:30 AM CST
Laghman province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan is shown. The shooting took place in Laghman province.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – An Army National Guardsman is accused of murdering an unarmed Afghan civilian in September, and will appear before a court-martial in June. During an otherwise routine mission, Sgt. Derrick Anthony Miller detained Atta Mohammed for questioning after the Afghan entered a security perimeter. Army investigators say Miller threatened to shoot Mohammed if he didn’t cooperate. Miller says he acted in self-defense, shooting the man in the head at close range only after Mohammed tried to grab his pistol. But witnesses at the scene say Mohammed never reached for the gun, the Washington Post reports.

The dead man’s son tells Reuters Mohammed was taken from his own home because he had earlier passed by the American patrol and did not stop when they asked him to because he was “a little bit deaf”; the son adds that his father was beaten before being shot. A spokesperson says the Army paid Mohammed’s family compensation, but family members tell Reuters they haven’t gotten any money. Miller, a decorated soldier who has also been deployed to Iraq, was released from detention after being deemed not a flight risk, and remains on active duty pending his June 6 trial.

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