A civil liberties group demanded answers from federal and state investigators who cleared a Boston FBI agent in the shooting last year of a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, following a Globe report Wednesday on the agent’s troubled record as a police officer in California.
Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, said the Justice Department and a Florida prosecutor should have disclosed that agent Aaron McFarlane was the subject of police brutality lawsuits and internal affairs investigations and that he pleaded the Fifth Amendment during a police corruption trial in their March reports exonerating McFarlane in the shooting.
On May 22, 2013, the FBI agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev after he allegedly confessed to helping Tsarnaev kill three men in Waltham in 2011. Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter, allegedly attacked the agent and a Massachusetts State Police trooper after he sat down to write his confession, prompting the agent to shoot him.
“Did your office know about the allegations of abuse, corruption, and falsifying evidence against the FBI agent who shot Mr. Todashev?” Shibly said in a letter to the Florida prosecutor, Jeffrey L. Ashton, citing the Globe and his own investigation of the shooting. “If your office did not know about the agent’s history, how can the public trust the thoroughness and reliability of the investigation?”
Shibly sent similar letters to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which also cleared McFarlane in March, and the FBI, asking the bureau if it had investigated McFarlane’s background at the Oakland Police Department in California before they hired him in 2008.
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