By Karin Friedemann, TMO
Ibragim Todashev and his wife Reniya Manukyan. Photograph: family handout
Florida State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton met with US Department of Justice officials last week to discuss their investigations into the killing of Ibragim Todashev in his home at 6022 Peregrine Ave in Orlando, Florida in the wee hours of May 22, 2013.
The Associated Press reported last week that DoJ had finished a preliminary report into Todashevâ€™s killing, but it has not been released to the public.
Ashton reportedly received â€œadditional investigative materialâ€ from Justice officials and requested more information. The Department of Justice oversees the FBI, which typically clears the agents involved in extra-judicial murders. According to the New York Times, FBI agents shot and killed about 70 subjects and wounded 80 others between 1993 and 2011. In each case, an investigation concluded that the shooting was justified.
â€œThe FBI wouldnâ€™t go on record with an official version of events, and was unusually tight-lipped about the case, even as the dead manâ€™s grieving father speculated that his son was murdered,â€ reports Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic.
â€œThe State Attorney and his staff will diligently continue their investigation into the death of Ibragim Todashev with the expectation of concluding the investigation and making the findings public in early 2014,â€ said Ashtonâ€™s spokesman, Richard Walsh.
This is disappointing since what the public really wants to know now is the names of the officers involved so that they can be prosecuted, not that the matter be quietly concluded. Ashtonâ€™s office is supposed to investigate the shooting, not coordinate stories with the DoJ.
Government officials are engaged in a counter-blame game claiming that the dead man was about to confess to a triple murder, right before the FBI shot him 7 times in vital organs with a final shot to the back of the head that took place just inside the front door of his home. Clearly, he was trying to escape from the FBI interrogation. He couldnâ€™t possibly have committed the triple homicide since he was in Atlanta at the time, according to his wife.
Family and close friends say Todashev was never previously interviewed about the murders. He and other family members had however been repeatedly questioned by the FBI about their connections to the Tsarnaevs.
Khusen Taramov was with Ibrahim Todashev when the FBI arrived. Concerned, he waited outside in the parking lot for hours. According to Todashevâ€™s widow, Taramov told her that three men describing themselves as FBI agents from Boston entered the home. He was unaware of any state troopers. A local Orlando FBI agent named Chris entered the home as well, but he was asked to leave shortly before the murder took place.
Todashevâ€™s widow, Reniya told TMO: â€œThey started interview at 7:30pm. Khusen was told to leave at 11:30pm, and by the autopsy he was shot at 12:15am. The doctor told the funeral home, because the time was put on the death certificate.â€
The deputy chief medical examiner was Gary Lee Utz under the supervision of chief investigator Carol Crosby in Orlando, Florida. â€œGary is the doctor who did the autopsy report,â€ said Reniya. â€œHeâ€™s the one who open his body.â€
The FBI has provided no information about the Todashev shooting, except that the unnamed agent, two unnamed Massachusetts State Police troopers and unspecified others were questioning Todashev as part of the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings when he was killed. However, the FBI has refused to explain the confrontation that led to the fatal shooting. Conflicting details of events were provided by anonymous police sources to the media.
Todashev had been cooperating with investigators and spoke voluntarily with the FBI at least three times at their office before they came to his apartment to kill him. His father, Abdulbaki Todashev accused the FBI of â€œpremeditated, intentional murder.â€
Hassan Shibly, director of CAIR Florida, said that federal immigration officials arrested two potential witnesses to the FBIâ€™s conduct the week leading up to the shooting. Todashevâ€™s housemate, Tatiana Gruzdeva, who was actually Taramovâ€™s girlfriend, was arrested for having an expired visa days before Todashev was killed and was deported to Russia on October 11 after she gave a media interview. Todashevâ€™s friend, Ashurmamad Miraliev, was ordered to leave the country in November.
The American Civil Liberties Union asked MA Attorney General Martha Coakley to launch an independent investigation, given the involvement of Massachusetts law enforcement, but she turned down the request. Governor Deval Patrick remains silent.
â€œWhen something goes wrong during an operation involving Massachusetts law enforcement officers, Massachusetts residents deserve a thorough and transparent investigation by Massachusetts officials,â€ wrote Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, in her letter to Coakley.
â€œTodashevâ€™s family and friends have said he did nothing wrong and have sharply questioned the FBIâ€™s account of the shooting,â€ reports Maria Sacchetti at the Boston Globe.
Todashev is often said to be a friend of Tamerlan, one of two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.
However, his widow told TMO that the two men only knew each other from the gym. They had never visited in each othersâ€™ homes. Their families did not know each other. This seems to be a case of racial profiling resulting in the death of an innocent man.
About a week before the marathon bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev called Ibrahim Todashev wishing him well after his recent knee surgery. At the time of his murder, Todashev was still limping around on crutches. The FBI most likely targeted Todashev as a result of warrantless spying followed by a superficial interpretation of his telephone call log.
â€œTo us as family members we have no clue who killed him, who was there, how many… no details… nothing,â€ Reniya Todashev told TMO.