Clarksville man's death raises questions about bounty hunter regulations

(submitted by family to WZTV)

Only eight states in the U.S. regulate bounty hunters, and Tennessee is not one of them.

Clarksville Police said 24-year-old Jalen Milan was killed by bounty hunters who targeted the wrong person on April 23.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Milan’s mother, Anita Jenkins, in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Defendants include the seven bounty hunters charged in the case as well as Eagle Bonding, LLC and Keesee’s Bonding Company, both based out of Clarksville.

His family claims the bounty hunters mistakenly identified the father of two and shot him.

"The group descended on a car in the parking lot, started smashing windows," the lawsuit reads. "The driver took off, and the bounty hunters shot Milan in the back and chest."

Bail bondsmen are empowered to hire or act as bounty hunters to bring in people who violate the terms of jail bonds, but they can't use deadly force unless its self defense. In Tennessee, only the bondsmen who hire the bounty hunters are licensed or regulated. The bounty hunters are not.

"If you need a license to practice medicine in the state or drive a car, in order to hunt down people, you should need some type of certification to do that," said Nashville resident Isaiah Parham.

For now, Milan's family is simply asking for justice.

"What would cause these men to act so recklessly," Attorney Robert Spence said. "What would cause these men to act with such disregard for another human being? This are the questions that will help bring closure to his family."

"I'm standing here as a mother that has a lost son, and I want justice for Jalen," Diane Jenkins said. "It's been hard on our family."

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