March 21, 2014 -- The Justice Department will “very likely” decide against charging an FBI agent for killing an associate of one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers during an interview in Florida last year, a law enforcement official told ABC News.
The FBI concluded its review of the case at the end of last year, finding that the killing was justified and the agent involved committed no wrongdoing, the official said. Those findings were turned over to the Justice Department, which has been looking into whether any federal civil rights violations were implicated in the matter.
Thursday a state prosecutor in Florida told reporters he plans to announce the results of his own investigation next week, around the same time the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is expected to announce its final decision in the case. Both of which, the official said, will likely find the shooting was justified.
The death of Todashev has been controversial due to the unusual circumstances in which he was killed during an interview with federal and state law enforcement officials in Orlando last May. Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen, was an associate of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men prosecutors say detonated two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon last April, killing three people and wounding more than 260 others.
Shortly after Todashev was killed, two officials with direct knowledge of the incident told ABC News that Todashev was “about to sign a statement” admitting to a role, along with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in an unsolved triple murder in Massachusetts in 2011 when he “just went crazy” and attacked the law enforcement agents.
Law enforcement sources initially said Todashev, a trained mixed martial arts fighter, stabbed an agent with a knife before the FBI agent shot him, but then said there was confusion over what object he was using as a weapon. Later federal agents said Todashev was unarmed.
Days after Todashev’s death, his father claimed his boy had been shot “execution-style” by FBI agents, who he called “bandits.” The father, Abdul-Baki, said his son had been shot seven times, including once in the head, and produced gruesome photos from a Florida morgue as evidence. The photographs could not be verified.
Abdul-Baki Todashev said he believed the FBI killed his son because “they wanted to get rid of him, to shut him up.”
At the time of Todashev’s death, the FBI said 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.”
Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police days after the April 15, 2013 blasts. His little brother and alleged co-conspirator, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts related to the bombing.