The Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation of possible federal crimes associated with the murder of George Tiller, MD, Friday. The DOJ will investigate possible violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act or other federal laws in connection with the case. The federal government has also convened a meeting of the National Task Force on Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers in the days following the murder and Attorney General Eric Holder has deployed US Marshals to protect highly threatened clinics and staff.
Dr. Tiller, who was medical director of the Women’s Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas was killed May 31st at his church. He was one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country. Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division announced in a press release: “The Department of Justice will work tirelessly to determine the full involvement of any and all actors in this horrible crime, and to ensure that anyone who played a role in the offense is prosecuted to the full extent of federal law…We will conduct a thorough investigation that will complement and build upon the fine work of the Sedgwick County District Attorney and other state and local law enforcement agencies.”
Scott Roeder, who allegedly fatally shot Dr. Tiller, was charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault last week and awaits a preliminary hearing on June 16th. Roeder is being held without bond and a protective order has been issued barring him from any contact with Tiller’s family. Roeder reportedly called the Associated Press from prison yesterday and stated “I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.”