Earlier this summer, the FBI shot and killed Ibragim Todashev at his Orlando, Florida, apartment, where he was being questioned by law-enforcement officials. Afterward, police sources gave wildly conflicting accounts of what happened just before his death: Some said he was unarmed but agitated; others said he was armed, but disagreed about the weapon. Did he reach for a gun? A samurai sword? A knife? A metal pole? A broomstick? Every news report seemed to tell a different story. The FBI wouldn't go on record with an official version of events, and was unusually tight-lipped about the case, even as the dead man's grieving father speculated that his son was murdered. The ACLU, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and various newspaper editorial boards called for an independent investigation, in part because when the FBI investigates itself, its agents are basically always found blameless for fatal shootings.
Then the story faded from national headlines.
Two and a half months later, the FBI has yet to release the results of its investigation. The Boston Globe, Orlando Sentinel, and CAIR have kept pressing for answers. It's time that the rest of us rejoin them. Perhaps the FBI will ultimately produce evidence that clears those present of culpability. Until then, America's federal police force has killed a man, clammed up, and offered no answers for going on three months!
That should never happen. And when it does, the public should demand answers.
Priority one should be multiple competing investigations. "Massachusetts and Florida both have an interest in the case," The Boston Globe points out. "The shooting happened in Florida, and two Massachusetts State Police troopers were present." As Maria Sacchetti, a reporter following the case, has reported, "Jeffrey L. Ashton, the top prosecutor in Orlando ... is reviewing witness and forensic evidence from the US Department of Justice's preliminary investigation ..."