Report an “important first step for transparency” but issue of justified killing “remains frustratingly and disappointingly unanswered.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2014
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 – 2737 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Ott, ACLU of Massachussetts Communications Director, (617) 482 – 3170 x322 email@example.com
MIAMI– Today, the Office of Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton released its investigative report on the death of Ibragim Todashev, who was killed in his Orlando home on May 22nd during a joint interrogation by FBI agents and local law enforcement officers from Massachusetts and Florida, clearing the FBI agent who shot Todashev of wrongdoing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida and the ACLU of Massachusetts had previously called for independent investigations of the shooting.
The following statement may be attributed to Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida:
“When the announcement was made, following the ACLU’s calls for an independent investigation, that the State Attorney’s Office would conduct an investigation of the FBI shooting death of Ibragim Todashev, we hoped his office would independently verify the facts and not just rubber-stamp the FBI’s findings. The report issued today appears to cast more light on what happened in that Orlando apartment last May and is an important first step for transparency, but for as many questions as it seems to answer, many remain unresolved, especially about the use of force.
“Although there now appears to be a more clear record of what happened on that night, there are curious details in the report that should give the public pause. For instance, why did the FBI agents conduct the immediate crime scene investigation following the shooting instead of allow a separate local agency do an impartial investigation? And most importantly, why did the agent shoot and kill Mr. Todashev instead of attempt to subdue him non-lethally.
“Even in light of the new information, seven bullets including to the head and back, seem like an unnecessary response to someone who reportedly assaulted an officer and was wielding a broomstick. The report goes out of its way to paint Mr. Todashev as a violent cage fighter, as if to give the perception that an escalation of violence was the only reasonable way for officers to handle what is depicted as an almost inevitable confrontation. When a subject is threatening or assaults an officer, it is the job of law enforcement to subdue him and take him into custody, not to execute him.
“Much of the secrecy of what happened leading up to those seven shots seems to have been lifted, and for that, the report is a welcome change from the suspicion-fostering silence and stonewalling that has taken place until now. But even in the light of this report, the central question of whether officers were justified in killing Mr. Todashev – why a man wielding a broomstick needed seven bullets put into him – remains frustratingly and disappointingly unanswered.”
The State Attorney’s Investigative Report and the letter to the FBI are available here: http://sao9documents.net/
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