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The Blackwater Victim Services Team

2017 Federal Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

The Blackwater Victim Services Team | Federal Service Award
Team Members: Yvonne Bryant; Dr. John Iskander; Sawsan Al-Bassam; Jelahn Stewart; Brian Rasmussen; 
Marc Hess; Katrice Stubbs; Jeremy Moore; Dawn Tolson-Hightower; April Ankeny; 
Lindsay Nelson; Courtney Warren; Peter Jurack; Michael McGarrity
Washington, DC

The Blackwater Victim Services Team is a group of professionals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of State that supported the prosecution of four Blackwater contractors involved in the Nisur Square shooting. It was the largest extraterritorial violent crime prosecution to date. 

The team worked together to coordinate the safe travel and court appearances of over 40 Iraqi victim-witnesses. This included setting up visas, escorts, translators, security, housing, and transportation. The team put a tremendous amount of time and effort into ensuring cultural sensitivity, including extensive training for the prosecutors and agents on history, basic greeting, and cultural cues, along with having the hotel purchase prayer rugs and beads, and marking every room for Mecca. 

The success of this effort has led other FBI offices and the DOJ to consult with the Blackwater team on similar international issues and crime victim cultural sensitivity issues.

2017 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about the Blackwater Victim Services Team, 2017 recipient of the Federal Service Award.