Narrative Collapse: "Houston Man" Arrested For "Not Paying Student Loan" Is Black Scofflaw Who Resisted Arrest And Said He Had A Gun
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When I heard stories about Federal Marshals arresting people for unpaid student loans, I didn't really believe it. I assumed it was a case of someone being arrested for ducking a subpoena, which can happen no matter what you're going to court for. It turns out that's actually the case. The picture above is of the guy who was arrested. Oddly, enough, the headline calls him him a "Houston Man": Houston man arrested by seven U.S. Marshals for not paying $1,500 student loan from 1987, BY David Boroff, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, February 16, 2016

That's normally what is what they call a black man who's murdered, raped, or beaten  someone, but since he's the (alleged) victim of police brutality, shouldn't they call him a "Black Man" or an "African-American"?

Seven U.S. Marshals armed with automatic weapons arrested a Texas man for not paying a $1,500 student loan from three decades ago, he claims.

Paul Aker said he was surprised at his Houston home on Thursday by seven people in combat gear.

"They grabbed me, they threw me down," the 48-year-old Aker told the Daily News on Tuesday. "Local PD is just standing there."

Aker said he didn't receive any notice or warning about the loan, which he received in 1987 at Prairie View A&M University.[Emphasis added]

Prairie View A&M is the "historically" black university associated with Texas A&M.

Anyhow, here's the Narrative Collapse, via's Walter Olson:

“US Marshals arresting people for not paying their federal student loans” (P.S.: Really?)

[Note: updated Friday 9:30 a.m., an hour and a half after publication, after it became clear that the original reporting was gravely flawed] According to KRIV, “the US Marshals Service in Houston is arresting people for not paying their outstanding federal student loans. Paul Aker …says seven deputy US Marshals showed up at his home with guns and took him to federal court where he had to sign a payment plan for the [$1500] 29-year-old school loan. Congressman Gene Green says the federal government is now using private debt collectors to go after those who owe student loans. Green says as a result, those attorneys and debt collectors are getting judgments in federal court and asking judges to use the US Marshals Service to arrest those who have failed to pay their federal student loans.”

But see: Scott Riddle with plenty of evidence that KRIV’s version of the story omits material facts (h/t commenter Matthew: Aker “wasn’t arrested for the debt itself. He was arrested for evading service and failing to show up for mandatory court dates.”) As for the guns, the marshals’ office said it sent reinforcements when an attempt to arrest Aker failed and the situation escalated. As Riddle notes, the original report had spread rapidly around news outlets, but corrections and clarifications are often slow to catch up.

More details can be seen at Scott Riddle, Esq.'s specialist Georgia Bankruptcy Blog: Arrested For Not Paying Student Loans? No – The Paul Aker Story Was Essentially Fabricated February 17, 2016.

After making it clear that Paul Aker had received all kinds of notice, and the story about him being arrested for debt was made up, Riddle gets to why there were Federal Marshals with automatic weapons:

Let’s get back to the “raid” of U.S. Marshals armed with automatic weapons.  Although it does not change the fact that the reporter made up the underlying story, the U.S. Marshall’s Office released a statement filling in a few key details:
Since November 2012, U.S. Marshals had made several attempts to serve a show cause order to Paul Aker to appear in federal court, including searching at numerous known addresses. Marshals spoke with Aker by phone and requested he appear in court, but Aker refused. A federal judge then issued a warrant for Aker’s arrest for failing to appear at a Dec. 14, 2012, hearing,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

“It is the responsibility of the U.S. Marshals to serve civil processes at direction of the federal courts. These civil processes include summonses for individuals to appear in court to address delinquent federal loans, including student, agricultural and other loans made by federal agencies.”

When officials made contact with him on Feb. 11, the U.S. Marshals said that they only sent two agents to his door. They say that when they attempted to arrest him, Aker resisted and retreated back into his home.

The situation escalated when Aker verbally said to the deputies that he had a gun. After Aker made the statement that he was armed, in order to protect everyone involved, the deputies requested additional law enforcement assistance. Additional deputy marshals and local law enforcement officers responded to the scene. After approximately two hours, the law enforcement officers convinced Aker to peacefully exit his home, and he was arrested without further incident.

The bold emphasis is mine. Not quite the story intended by Fox 26, is it?

No, and the person to blame (besides Aker himself) as Riddle makes clear, is black KRIV Fox26 reporter Isaiah Carey, who promoted the original story.



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