For Immediate Release
Federal Prison for Possessing a Firearm as a Felon
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —Damian Lamont Swindle, 38, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was sentenced to 108 months in prison, following his conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon. In addition, U.S. District Judge Gordon J. Quist imposed a three-year term of supervised release that will begin when Swindle is release from prison.
In July 2017, during a late-night block party in a residential area of Kalamazoo, officers from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) attempted to arrest Swindle on existing warrants. Swindle resisted and struggled with three officers. The surrounding scene escalated as bottles were thrown at the officers and shots were fired nearby. Officers ultimately gained control over Swindle, at which point they recovered from his pant pocket a loaded 38-caliber revolver.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Quist said that Swindle’s extensive criminal history was effectively “off the chart” in terms of scoring under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Swindle has multiple prior felony convictions under state law for offenses including dangerous drugs, police officer fleeing, felony firearm, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. The Judge identified several additional reasons for the nine-year prison term, including the seriousness and circumstances of the offense, the need to deter Swindle from future criminal conduct, and the need to protect the public.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said that a long sentence was particularly important here, where “after multiple felony convictions and prison sentences, the defendant still carried a loaded gun.” U.S. Attorney Birge said that the Court’s sentence affirms that, “in Western Michigan, there are severe consequences for convicted felons who violate federal firearms laws.” “Given the heightened danger caused by Swindle’s resistance to arrest in a crowd of people late at night, the loaded revolver in Swindle’s pocket, the shots fired nearby, and the items that were thrown at the police officers, it is incredibly fortunate that nobody was hurt that night.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) work closely with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety to identify offenders like Swindle, whose prior convictions, history of violence, or involvement in group violence warrant federal prosecution. “Damian Swindle had the opportunity to turn his life around and become a productive member of society,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “Instead he choose to continue to break the law and his actions threatened the safety of innocent people. ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring dangerous criminals to justice so citizens can feel safe in their communities.”
KDPS Criminal Investigation Division Captain Shannon Bagley noted that “the resolution of Swindle’s case and his lengthy federal sentence is a testament to the long term partnership KDPS has been able to sustain with the US Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. With the collaboration between the agencies, a violent felon has been taken off our streets which directly affects the safety of Kalamazoo Citizens.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Zell prosecuted the case.