GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today the latest charges and a denial of bond that are part of his office’s larger efforts to address gun violence. A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Antwine Chamberlain-Fields for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition in Grand Rapids. Chamberlain-Fields faces up to ten years’ incarceration if convicted of this crime. United States Magistrate Judge Ray Kent denied Chamberlain-Field’s request for bond, stating that the proliferation of illegal weapons in the district is a key factor in the surge of violence.
On July 22, 2020, Grand Rapids Police encountered Chamberlain-Fields in possession of multiple rounds of ammunition. Officers later also located a loaded .45 caliber handgun hidden inside his vehicle. At his bond hearing, Magistrate Judge Kent underscored the defendant’s illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition put the defendant, his family, and the community at serious risk of harm. In rendering his decision to detain Mr. Chamberlain-Fields, the judge highlighted the fact that an address associated with defendant was the location of a recent brazen drive-by shooting, resulting in the injury of a teenage girl.
“In a city stunned by the sudden spike of traumatic injuries and deaths from shootings over the last few months, this arrest highlights the dedicated work of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force and GRPD to reduce gun crime in Grand Rapids,” commented U.S. Attorney Birge.
An unprecedented surge of violence, particularly shootings, has plagued Grand Rapids. In order to combat this increase in violent crime, state, local, and tribal police departments and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are working together through the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative to identify the individuals responsible. The PSN initiative focuses on those driving violent crime rates not only in Grand Rapids, but also in cities across the Western District of Michigan. For example, in April, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety arrested two men found in possession of loaded firearms. Both of these men were suspects in recent shootings. A federal grand jury indicted these men with federal firearm and ammunition offenses, and they are now facing ten or more years in a federal prison.
PSN is a powerful tool to combat this surge in violence. The program brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors to identify the most violent criminals in the community and develop effective and efficient strategies to bring these violent individuals to justice and to prevent future gun crime from taking root. The PSN initiative recognizes the importance of lay community relationships and supports through grant awards locally tailored crime prevention efforts.
The public is reminded that the criminal complaints and indictments in the aforementioned cases are allegations and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.