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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Report to shed light on what really took place when FBI shot Ibragim Todashev -- Florida prosecutor to release investigation into death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's friend in Orlando apartment last May -- By Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian.co.uk

Abdul-Baki Todashev, FBI death

Abdul-Baki Todashev, Ibragim's father, accused the FBI of murdering his son 'execution-style'. Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
Ending an interrogation in its investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing with a dead body and a host of new questions was not the sort of thing the FBI wanted.

But on May 22, an FBI agent shot Ibragim Todashev – a 27-year old former mixed-martial arts fighter and associate of one of the suspected bombers – seven times, killing him. The agent had just completed a lengthy interrogation of Todashev in his Orlando apartment, part of an inquiry into the already-dead bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. One of the bullets appears to have entered through the top of Todashev’s head.

The FBI’s story, doled out through anonymous leaks, changed several times in the weeks that followed. First, Todashev, who had voluntarily endured hours of questioning, lunged at the FBI agent with a knife, or even a sword. Then it was a length of pipe. Other accounts had him knocking over a table. At least one account held that Todashev was unarmed. The version that currently stands is that Todashev wielded a metal pole – or, perhaps, a broomstick.

Little is known about that mysterious pole-slash-broomstick: its heft, its dimensions, its use. Yet it is likely to be a major difference between vindication and damnation of the FBI’s handling of the case. A Florida prosecutor examining the case is expected to publish the results of an long-awaited investigation into Todashev’s death on Tuesday morning.

Unknowns accumulate in the Todashev shooting. Two Florida detectives reportedly aided the FBI interrogation, and their role during the shooting remains unclear. Florida’s autopsy report, available since July, was barred from release by the FBI. The bureau’s months of silence over the case have compounded the questions it faces.

But the FBI has already reached its conclusion. An internal FBI inquiry vindicated the agent, whose name is not public, months ago. That’s typical for the FBI – between 1993 and 2011, its agents fatally shot 70 people and wounded another 80, and the bureau found no major improprieties in any of those cases, according to records obtained by the New York Times last year.

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