Yesterday, we told you
that State Attorney Jeff Ashton's office had announced that it planned to release the results of its investigation into the 2013 shooting death of Ibragim Todashev on Tuesday. Todashev, a Chechen man, was shot in his Orlando apartment by FBI agents who were questioning him about his relationship to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamarlan Tsarnaev and his alleged involvement in a 2011 murder in Massachusetts.
Well, today the Washington Post
is reporting that when the results of the investigation are released next week, they will indicate that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the agents who shot Todashev. The State Attorney's office, however, says it has not released any information to that effect.
We emailed Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which helped spur Ashton's office into investigating the mysterious shooting in the first place. Shibly would not comment on the rumors currently circulating in the media, but he did express concern.
While we are concerned, we look forward to reviewing the investigation in detail and issuing a statement after that. In fairness the government and our client, we will not be responding to the report until we have an opportunity to read it, digest it and verify the accuracy of what is in the report. We will be holding a press conference, likely next week, at which time we will respond
Certainly, the FBI's failure to prosecute a single agent in its history for shooting a suspect does not help its' credibility. They have also done an excellent job ensuring that key friends and witnesses to the events of the night are unable to be in the US before the report is released.
div>Our concern however is not only regarding whether the agent was justified at the time he pulled the trigger, which was the focus of the state and federal investigation, but about the pattern of civil rights abuse that occurred before, during, and after the killing of Ibragim Todashev.
The DOJ's and the State Attorney's investigations relied on evidence gathered by the FBI and the only person who can contradict first hand their narrative is dead. We have been conducting our own independent investigation and look forward to comparing their findings with ours and making a decision on how to proceed at that time.
Richard Wallsh, chief assistant/executive director for the Office of the State Attorney says that the Washington Post's proclamation is premature. "The State Attorney has not made a final decision regarding the investigation into the death of Mr. Todashev and he has not communicated his decision to any federal officials," he writes. "We do not know who said anything to the contrary. The original investigative report has been written, however, the Chief of Investigations has not yet submitted a supplemental report to the State Attorney. The State Attorney intends to review all materials over the weekend & make his final decision no later than sometime Monday. The release of purported information is inaccurate and unfair to Mr. Todashev’s surviving family and the police officers involved in the incident and their families. It also contravenes and frustrates all of the efforts to date by employees of the FBI, DOJ and this office for the orderly and safe release of information."
UPDATE: Hassan Shibly followed up with an additional email stating that it was the U.S. Department of Justice that leaked the information to the media.
The Department of Justice has amatuerishly and irresponsibly leaked information to the Washington Post and the Washington Post, as equally amatuerishly and irresponsibly, published unconfirmed information in their effort to be "first". The Todashev family, the American public, and the international community are entitled to conduct expected and becoming the Department of Justice and the Washington Post. Once the Department of Justice and State Attorney reports are made public, our defense will, on behalf of the Todashev family, review the report and hold a press conference, date, time and place to be named later, discussing our reaction and expectations of what the future may hold in this matter in order to ensure that the Todashev family concludes that when we say in America "justice for all" it's not just a fourth grade perfunctory observation as we say the Pledge of Allegiance.