Family Of Tsarnaev Friend Killed By The FBI Will Sue For $30 Million

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Ibragim Todashev’s family says he was killed in cold blood during an interrogation by FBI agents in 2013.

Ibragim Todashev Reuters

The family of a man killed during an FBI interrogation connected to the Boston bombings wants the bureau to pay them $30 million for the wrongful death of Ibragim Todashev, who was shot seven times in his apartment by an agent in May 2013.

Lawyers for Todashev’s parents filed a notice of claim Monday alleging that agent Aaron McFarlane illegally shot the 27-year-old while questioning him in his apartment in Orlando, Florida, about a triple-homicide allegedly carried out by Todashev and deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

“Almost two years since our son Ibragim Todashev was killed by the FBI in cold blood, we still mourn his death and have not forgotten our Ibragim for even a second,” Todashev’s father Abdulbaki Todashev said in a statement.

The family called the killing a result of the FBI’s abuse of their power.

“We expect that the FBI agents that murdered our son will be held accountable.”

FBI agents take out evidence from an apartment where Todashev was killed. Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

On Sept. 11, 2011, Brendan Mess, 25, Raphael Teken, 37, and Eric Weissman, 31, were found inside a home in Waltham, Massachusetts, with their throats cut and their bodies covered with marijuana. Initially, no suspects were arrested.

After the April 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon, investigators announced that they had new information that implicated alleged bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the 2011 triple-homicide.

According to the Todashev family’s claim, in the days after the marathon, FBI agents began to question Ibragim Todashev repeatedly about the bombing. Todashev was a close friend of Tsarnaev and trained with him at a Boston mixed-martial arts gym.

On May 21, 2013, Todashev was questioned for five hours by at least six agents inside his Orlando apartment about the Waltham murders.

Toward the end of these discussions, Todashev indicated that he would prepare a written statement implicating himself and Tsarnaev in the killings. According to one of the officers, while the statement was being prepared, Todashev’s demeanor began to change.

According to police, Todashev became enraged and threw a coffee table at the agents. Todashev then ran into his kitchen and returned wielding a long pole like a javelin, according to a Massachusetts State Police officer also present. McFarlane then shot Todashev seven times.

Following his death, Todashev’s father held a news conference in Moscow, Russia, accusing the FBI of murdering his son while he was “unarmed” and calling the agents involved “bandits.”

In March 2014, McFarlane and the other FBI agents were cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of Todashev.

The family’s wrongful death claim says that McFarlane’s history in law enforcement should have prevented the FBI from hiring him in the first place.

According to the claim, prior to joining the bureau, McFarlane was an officer at the Oakland Police Department, where he was the subject of two police-brutality lawsuits and four internal-affairs investigations.

The claim also cites a 2003 case in California during which McFarlane falsified police reports.

The claim also says that in 2004, after McFarlane retired from the Oakland police, claiming disability, he continued to receive disability payments after joining the FBI in 2008. The Boston Globe reported that McFarlane’s disability pension earned him $52,000/year.

In a video released Monday, Hassan Shibly, Executive Director of CAIR and representative for the Todashev family, said it is “extremely troubling” that the FBI would hire somebody with such a “checkered past.”

Shibly also suggests that McFarlane harassed other Muslim people in the Orlando area during the Todashev investigation.

“He was the agent who went around Orlando knocking on the doors of law-abiding Muslims and threatening them that they can either become informants for the FBI and spy on mosques, spy on Muslim houses of worship, spy on hookah lounges, spy on halal restaurants, or get thrown in jail,” Shibly said. “He made those threats to Ibragim Todashev’s friends before he ultimately ended up killing him.”

The Todashev family claim is the first step toward a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit.

Tsarnaev’s brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently on trial for the Boston Marathon bombing. Opening statements in the case will be heard on Wednesday, March 4.

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