The father of a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev said Tuesday he is seeking to file a civil suit against the FBI after a Boston agent shot and killed his son.
Abdulbaki Todashev, father of Ibragim Todashev, said by phone in a telephone interview from Florida that he was meeting with lawyers and human rights groups “to prepare a civil suit against the FBI for wrongful death.”
Ibragim Todashev, 27, was shot and killed in May in his Orlando apartment during an interrogation authorities have said was connected to Tsarnaev, who, with his brother Dzokhar, is suspected of carrying out the Marathon bombings.
The father said he did not want to wait for the results of the FBI’s internal investigation into the shooting of his son.
“At this point, I don’t care about their reasons for shooting my son,” he said. “I don’t believe them, because they committed an unprecedented act of murder, and these people need to be tried and judged.
“As for why they did this and that, I only know that this was a premeditated, intentional murder.”
The FBI has released little information about what led the agent to shoot Todashev, except to allege that the Chechen was shot after he initiated a violent altercation.
According to news reports, Todashev was about to sign a confession implicating himself and Tsarnaev in the 2011 slayings of three men in Waltham.
Todashev, who came to the United States in 2008 and received political asylum that year, had lived in Cambridge and Allston before moving to Florida and was close to Tsarnaev, whose father is also an ethnic Chechen.
Tsarnaev, 26, died in a police shootout days after the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. His brother, Dzhokhar, 20, is facing federal charges related to the explosions. The brothers also allegedly killed an MIT police officer.
Abdulbaki Todashev — a city official in Grozny, the capital of the southern Russian region of Chechnya — traveled to the United States Sunday, hoping to get answers about his son’s case.
“I couldn’t leave what happened to my son unanswered,” he said Tuesday during a break from a meeting with his lawyers. “I don’t know the laws, so I am consulting with lawyers.”
Todashev said Saturday he was frustrated by the bureau’s refusal to allow Florida medical examiners to release an autopsy report completed in early July. Todashev said he feared the FBI would somehow tamper with the results.
“If there is a medical examiner’s report, do they have to report to the FBI?,” Todashev said by phone from Moscow. “Does the FBI have the right to block the father from receiving it? What kind of conclusion will there be, if the FBI is in charge of it?”
Todashev disputed the possibility that his son, who, according to family members and advocates, had previously been questioned numerous times by authorities, could have attacked investigators and forced them to kill him.
Ibragim Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, was recovering from knee surgery and was incapable of quick movement, his father said, and weighed only about 159 pounds.
“There were three people in a room and my son by himself,” he said. “The FBI and police usually select healthy, big guys. If they were in danger, they could have stopped him, wounded him, shot him in an arm or a leg, used a Taser.
“This is an unprecedented, premeditated, and intentional murder, because they shot him in the heart and the head.”
Howard Friedman, a prominent civil rights lawyer in Boston, said he was unsure if Todashev’s father would be successful in a lawsuit against the FBI, in light of the limited information the agency has released. “Without enough facts, it’s hard to know, but this certainly makes one suspicious,” Friedman said of the shooting and the official response from the federal government.
Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense lawyer and civil rights specialist, said he doubted that Todashev’s father will get any definitive answers.
“I don’t think that he will succeed, because I’m sure the feds will figure out a way to cover this with some kind of national security privilege like they’ve been doing with everything else” since the Sept. 11 attacks, he said.
In a statement, Special Agent Jason Pack, an FBI spokesman, said the bureau and the Justice Department continue to investigate the shooting.
“The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incident,” Pack said. “Both the FBI and the United States Department of Justice have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them independently to arrive at the facts. The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”
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