A Florida prosecutor has cleared the Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who shot and killed Ibragim Todashev during questioning about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, according to law enforcement officials.
Although The Washington Post broke the news on Friday, State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton’s official report is not due out until Tuesday.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division conducted a separate inquiry into the May 2013 incident and came to the same conclusion, CNN reported Friday. The official federal review is also expected to be released next week.
Although civil rights advocates and Mr. Todashev’s father have expressed concerns that the agent may have used excessive force, law enforcement officials said the agent was acting in self-defense.
FBI officials close to the investigation told the Post that Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, had attacked the agent with a metal pole. The FBI’s original reports said that Todashev, a Chechen national, had threatened the agent with a knife.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the civil rights group that provided Todashev’s family with legal counsel, told the Post that the finding was troubling.
“Obviously we have a lot of concerns about this, a lot of concerns,” Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR’s Florida chapter, told the Post. “We’re eagerly waiting to see the full report.”
Mr. Shibly told the Monitor last May that the council had confirmed with FBI officials that Todashev had been unarmed when the agent shot him seven times in the back of the head.
The FBI and Massachusetts state troopers had sought Todashev for questioning at his Orlando, Fla., home during an investigation into bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s possible involvement in a 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, Mass. Todashev reportedly implicated Mr. Tsarnaev in those slayings.
Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police several days after the Boston Marathon bombings. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, faces 30 federal charges and a possible death penalty for the bombings, which killed three people and injured 260 others.
Shortly after Todashev’s death, an FBI spokesman told The New York Times that the bureau “takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents, and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally.”
The Times conducted a subsequent review of the outcomes of such internal investigations.
It said, "[I]f such internal investigations are time-tested, their outcomes are also predictable: from 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 ‘subjects’ and wounded about 80 others – and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, according to interviews and internal F.B.I. records obtained by The New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.”
• Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.