Federal judge apologizes to Georgia suspect in Capitol riot for delayed release

Kevin Douglas Creek, a roofing contractor from Alpharetta, was arrested June 9, 2021, and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Police body camera footage appears to show Creek attacking police defending the Capitol. (Photo: United States Department of Justice)

Kevin Douglas Creek, a roofing contractor from Alpharetta, was arrested June 9, 2021, and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Police body camera footage appears to show Creek attacking police defending the Capitol. (Photo: United States Department of Justice)

In an extraordinary hearing Thursday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., apologized to a Georgia man accused in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol for a delay in his release on bond and blasted prosecutors in Atlanta for holding him.

“I hope you will accept my apologies,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui said to Johns Creek resident Kevin Douglas Creek.

Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker in Atlanta ordered Creek, 46, be held without bond pending trial. In her decision, Walker sided with federal prosecutors in Georgia who said Creek, a former Marine, was unrepentant for his alleged role in the riot and too dangerous to be allowed bond.

Defense attorney David Joyner appealed that decision in the D.C. District Court the following day. In a hearing on Monday, Faruqui ordered Creek to be released after prosecutors in Washington said they had no objection to him being granted bond.

Faruqui said Thursday it was “extremely troubling” that Creek remained in jail for days after ordering his release. Faruqui vowed to investigate the delay and threatened to report prosecutors in Atlanta to the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

“I am absolutely baffled as a former prosecutor and an American citizen,” Faruqui said.

The judge said it appeared to him the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia simply disregarded his order and kept Creek in jail.

“They are not cowboys,” he said. “They are officers of the court.”

Creek is charged with seven criminal counts and is accused of assaulting two police officers on the West Terrace of the Capitol. Still images taken from police body cameras appear to show Creek punching and kicking police.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta declined to comment on the judge’s statements. Joyner said the controversy appears to stem from an “unusual procedural issue” involving federal judges with identical authority issuing competing orders.

Both Walker and Faruqui are magistrate judges. If a district judge, who has greater authority, had issued the ruling, there might have been no confusion, but Joyner said his request for a reconsideration of bond was assigned to a magistrate in D.C.

That’s not how Faruqui appeared to take it. The judge said it seemed federal prosecutors in Atlanta and Washington were the ones in disagreement.

“I understood the Department of Justice to be one entity that speaks with one voice,” he said. “That apparently was not the case here.”

Judge Walker held her own hearing Thursday in Atlanta where she granted Creek’s immediate release on a $10,000 appearance bond. Faruqui’s earlier order allowed Creek to leave on his own recognizance.

Joyner said he was not critical of the way either magistrate judge handled the matter. “I’m just glad my client is released,” he said.

More than 450 people have been charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, placing a strain on the D.C. district court. Judges and prosecutors routinely mention in hearings the massive scope of the investigation and the additional resources required to process the cases. So far, just one defendant has pleaded guilty to a crime related to the riot — a misdemeanor that resulted in three years probation.

Staff writer Chris Joyner is not related to defense attorney David Joyner.

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