One afternoon in October 2009, the FBI descended on a warehouse in Dearborn, Mich., and confronted a Muslim cleric with a criminal record, allegedly unloading televisions he thought had been stolen. Agents said he shot and killed their dog and fired at them. He died in a hail of FBI bullets.
Like the FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev on May 22 in Orlando, the cleric’s death unleashed a storm of criticism from Muslim groups and the imam’s family and friends.
But one difference is stark: The day of the shooting, the FBI told the public that the man had fired a gun, so they shot him, justifying the use of deadly force. County officials also soon told the public he was shot multiple times.
But in the Todashev case, the FBI has refused to say if he was armed or to describe the violent confrontation they say led a Boston agent to kill him. And the agency has barred the medical examiner’s office from saying how many times he was shot.
“I want to know what their hesitation is,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan. “If he was doing some sort of threatening act, then tell the public what it was. You just can’t shoot citizens or legal residents and say, ‘Oh, we killed him, but we’re not going to tell you why.’ If we accept that as Americans, what makes the FBI any better than the old KGB in Russia or any other totalitarian security force?”
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