FBI Agent Who Killed Ibragim Todashev Identified as Aaron McFarlane
The agent’s identity was revealed by the Globe.
A Boston Globe report on Wednesday named the FBI agent who shot and killed Ibragim Todashev during an interrogation a year ago as Aaron McFarlane. The Globe described McFarlane as a 41-year-old former police officer who was the subject of two police brutality suits and four internal investigations at his previous job with the Oakland Police Department, from which he also collects a disability pension.
The Globe report also named the Massachusetts State Police officer in the room at the time of the shooting, Curtis Cinelli, and the officer who had been present for the interrogation but left the room just before the shooting, Joel Gagne.
Todashev was an associate of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev; according to McFarlane and Cinelli—the only witnesses—Todashev had just implicated himself and Tsarnaev in a 2011 triple murder in Waltham when the interview turned fatal. McFarlane shot Todashev seven times after Todashev allegedly attacked the agent with a coffee table, and proceeded to charge a Massachusetts state trooper with a broomstick.
Both the Department of Justice and Florida state prosecutor Jeff Ashton have previously released reports clearing the agent of any wrongdoing. But Ashton’s report contained improperly formatted PDF files, allowing Globe staff to remove the redacting that had blacked out the law enforcement officers’ names.
At the time of the fatal interview, McFarlane had only been working for the FBI for about five years and was receiving a disability pension of more than $52,000 from the Oakland, California, Police Department, according to the Globe. He retired from the Oakland Police Department in 2004, at age 31, with a life-long pension due to injuries to his leg and a broken ankle before joining the FBI.
While working for the Oakland PD, the Globe reports, McFarlane testified in defense of four Oakland Police officers charged with making false arrests, planting evidence, and falsifying police reports. The city settled the federal lawsuit for $10.9 million and all four officers were fired, while McFarlane pleaded the Fifth to avoid incriminating himself and later testified under immunity.
The Globe also reports that McFarlane was later the subject of two brutality lawsuits, both of which resulted in settlement by the city. McFarlane never admitted wrongdoing, but the city awarded the plaintiffs $22,500 and $10,000, respectively, the Globe reported.
The FBI and the Massachusetts State troopers have also come under fire for interviewing Todashev, a professional mixed martial arts fighter, in his own home. The FBI had been questioning Todashev in connection to the Boston Marathon bombings for a month, and the bureau was aware of his violent temperament. During the course of the bureau’s surveillance, agents watched him beat a man unconscious over a parking space.
Kieran Ramsey, the special agent in charge of the Boston FBI bureau, said he was aware of the report but would not immediately comment on it Wednesday morning. Colonel Timothy Alben, of the Massachusetts State Police, said his department had seen the report, but had already looked into the shooting and found Cinelli and Gagne had not acted improperly. “It doesn’t change the situation,” he said of the Globe story.
Read the Globe’s full report here.