Florida group to sue FBI in death of friend of Boston bombing suspect

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 02, 2015 10:27 AM

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida Islamic group announced on Monday it has filed a formal notice with the FBI that it plans to sue the agency over the death of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of one of the Boston Marathon bomb suspects.

Todashev, 27, a Chechen immigrant, was shot dead in an Orlando apartment in May 2013 during FBI questioning over his links with the Boston bombing suspects.

The notice was filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR-Florida) on behalf of Todashev's parents.

"We are seeking answers and justice for someone who was shot seven times by an FBI agent in his own home after hours of interrogation," said Thania Diaz Clevenger, civil rights director for CAIR Florida.

The FBI said the agent fired after Todashev suddenly attacked and injured the agent during an interrogation at his Orlando apartment. Investigators concluded the agent was justified in using deadly force.

CAIR accused the FBI of "careless hiring practices" involving FBI agent Aaron McFarlane, who fired the fatal bullets, as well as a lax internal review that cleared him in Todashev's death.

"During his time serving with the Oakland Police Department, he was involved in two police brutality lawsuits, four internal affairs investigations, regarding violently beating up suspects and witnesses and allegedly falsified police reports," CAIR said in a statement.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was in court on Monday for a hearing over logistical matters before opening statements later this week.

Tsarnaev, 21, is accused of killing three people and injuring 264 with two homemade bombs in the largest mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

He is also accused of fatally shooting a police officer.

Todashev was a friend of Tsarnaev's brother, Tamerlan, an alleged co-conspirator in the Boston bombing, who was killed in a shootout with police.

Regarding Todashev's death, CAIR said it was "troubled with allowing of agents to conduct potentially charged interviews in people's homes instead of in a secured environment."

The group also accused the FBI of a "dangerously lax" internal review process that cleared McFarlane of any possible charges related to the incident.

(Writing by David Adams; Editing by Bill Trott)