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Father of man killed by FBI asks for investigation

Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of a man who was fatally shot by the FBI in May, said he has e-mailed President Obama about the case.
Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of a man who was fatally shot by the FBI in May, said he has e-mailed President Obama about the case.AFP/Getty Images/file

The father of a man fatally shot by an FBI agent investigating the Boston Marathon bombings said he has e-mailed President Obama photographs of his son’s bullet-ridden body and urged him to look into the death.

“I am not asking you to share my pain, but I am asking you, as the head of the great country, the guarantor of democracy in the modern world, to help the law and justice prevail,” Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of Ibragim Todashev, said in a letter he e-mailed to the White House this month.

Ibragim Todashev
Ibragim TodashevOrange County Corrections Department/AP

Abdulbaki Todashev, a government official in Chechnya, released the letter as a Florida prosecutor prepared to announce early next year the findings of his inquiry into the May 22 shooting in Orlando. The FBI is also probing the death, but civil liberties groups say the bureau has generally exonerated agents in past shootings.


In a telephone interview Monday, Todashev said he feared that the FBI would not be held accountable for the slaying. His son, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter with a criminal record, was a friend of the Tsarnaev brothers suspected in the Marathon bombings. But Abdulbaki Todashev said his son did nothing wrong and had voluntarily met with the FBI several times before he was killed.

“I wanted the president to take this matter under his own control,” he said from Grozny, the capital of the southern region of Chechnya in Russia. “Maybe these prosecutors do not report to him directly, but he is the guarantor of the Constitution of the United States. He can do something.”

The FBI and State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton, who is conducting the Florida inquiry, declined to comment. Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, confirmed Monday that the White House had received the letter “and will be reviewing it to determine the appropriate follow-up.”


In his lengthy e-mail to Obama, Todashev said the FBI has provided scant details about the shooting and has barred the medical examiner from releasing the autopsy report. “I can’t help but think that an independent medical examination is unlikely if the examiners obey the FBI’s orders,” he wrote.

Todashev said in the e-mail that Ibragim Todashev was a loving son, one of 12 children, who came to the United States in 2008 to practice English. He said that his son met Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the gym when he lived in Massachusetts and that he moved to Orlando in 2011.

Tamerlan died in a gunfight with police days after the April 15 bombings killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Dzhokhar is in federal custody pending trial.

In the e-mail, Abdulbaki Todashev said investigators showed up at Ibragim Todashev’s apartment May 21 and asked one of his son’s friends to leave. The investigators, including two Massachusetts State Police troopers, stayed into the early hours of the next morning, when Todashev was shot.

Since then, the FBI has provided few details, saying only that Todashev initiated a violent confrontation that injured the agent. The bureau has refused to say whether Todashev was armed or describe the confrontation.

News reports based on anonymous sources have said that Todashev was armed with a stick or a pole and lunged at the FBI agent as he was about to sign a confession implicating himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a 2011 triple murder in Waltham. The Middlesex district attorney’s office, which is investigating the Waltham slayings, declined to comment.


In the letter to Obama, Todashev’s father called the allegations “absurd” and said his son had nothing to do with the Waltham slayings.

Abdulbaki Todashev said he believed his son was unarmed and could not have attacked the investigators because he was still using crutches while recovering from a March knee surgery. He said that his son’s body was covered in bruises and had been shot 13 times and that he believed his son was tortured.

He pointed out that the US government had just given his son a green card and that his son had been planning to return home for a visit May 24.

However, law enforcement records in Florida show that his son was arrested the same month he was killed for allegedly badly beating a man in a dispute over a parking space at a mall. Ibragim Todashev had also been arrested in 2010 for a road rage incident in Boston.

Maria Sacchetti can be reached at msacchetti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @mariasacchetti.