FBI cleared of shooting death linked to Boston Marathon bombing
Agents shot Chechen friend of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev during May 2013 interrogation
A Florida prosecutor on Tuesday cleared of criminal wrongdoing U.S. government agents involved in the May 2013 shooting death of a Chechen immigrant who was being questioned about the Boston Marathon bombing.
Ibragim Todashev, 27, was shot at his Orlando apartment after he suddenly attacked and injured a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent during a several-hour-long interrogation, according to the FBI.
Todashev was an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two Chechen brothers who prosecutors contend carried out the April 2013 Boston bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
"My conclusion, based upon the facts presented to me in this investigation, is that the actions of the special agent of the FBI were justified in self-defence and in defence of another," State Attorney Jeff Ashton said in a letter to FBI director James Comey.
"A complete review of the investigation leads me to conclude that criminal charges against the special agent of the FBI are not warranted."
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a gunfight with police days after the April 15 bombing attack, while he and his younger brother Dzhokhar, now 20, were trying to flee the city. The younger Tsarnaev was later arrested and is awaiting trial on charges that could result in the death penalty if he is convicted.
Interrogation was about triple homicide
At the time of his death, Todashev was being questioned about his suspected involvement in a drug-related triple homicide in 2011 that law enforcement officials believed was linked to him and Tsarnaev.
The FBI account of the shooting has been questioned by Todashev's father, who said his son was unarmed. A Muslim civil liberties group in Florida, the Tampa-based branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, has called for a detailed review of the shooting.
Hassan Shibly, executive director of Florida CAIR, said his organization's independent review concluded that Todashev, who was in the United States legally, was shot seven times and received a major wound, possibly a bullet hole, to the back of the head. The CAIR investigation also found blood splatter and other physical damage at the scene that pointed to Todashev being shot while he was lying on the ground, Shibly said.
Journalists have also raised serious questions about the FBI account of the shooting — as well as about the investigation into the 2011 homicides and the detention and subsequent deportation of Todashev's girlfriend and some of his acquaintances.
With files from CBC News