WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice said it has no immediate plans to begin a civil rights investigation into the FBI shooting death of Ibragim Todashev, who was being questioned in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing.
The FBI said a shooting incident review group is investigating the May 22 killing of Todashev, 27, at his Florida home during an interrogation by an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers. Todashev's family and the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have called on the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to launch an independent investigation. DOJ spokeswoman Dena Iverson said the department will decide whether a civil rights investigation is warranted as it reviews evidence and tracks the FBI probe.
Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, was shot during questioning about his connection to Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as well as a 2011 unsolved triple murder in Massachusetts. Officials have offered varying accounts of what transpired, saying both that Todashev attacked an agent with a knife and that he was unarmed.
"The Civil Rights Division is currently monitoring the FBI Inspection Division's inquiry into this matter while it progresses, coordinating with the FBI and reviewing evidence as it is obtained," Iverson said in a statement to HuffPost. "As it does with all such matters, the Civil Rights Division will make an independent determination whether a civil rights investigation is warranted. If further investigation is warranted, the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida will direct that investigation and make an independent decision."
Todashev's father, Abdul-Baki Todashev, accused the FBI of executing his son. A a news conference in Moscow on Thursday, he showed reporters 16 photographs he said were of his son's body and claimed his son suffered six gunshot wounds to his torso and one to the back of his head. The authenticity of the photos, which Abdul-Baki said were taken by his son's friend Khusen Taramov, has not been confirmed. Taramov said he took the photos at an Orlando funeral home and sent them to Todashev's father.
Three law enforcement officials said that Todashev, a Chechan immigrant, was about to sign a confession about his and Tsarnav's involvement in the triple-slayings when he suddenly lunged at the FBI agent and was shot to death. Two of those same officials later said it wasn't clear what happened.
Abdul-Baki Todashev said his son was "100 percent unarmed."
"I'd only seen and heard things like that in the movies -- they shoot somebody and then a shot in the head to make sure," Todashev said. "These just aren't FBI agents, they're bandits."
The FBI would not comment on the father's claims. FBI spokesman Paul Bresson addressed the investigation in a statement Wednesday.
"The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally," Bresson said. "The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances."