The Independent Investigation of Ibragim Todashev’s Death Will Be Out Soon
Following months of delays, the Florida State Attorney has promised to release, by the end of March, the results of his independent investigation into the death of Ibragim Todashev—the man a Boston FBI agent shot and killed just as, the agency claims, Todashev was about to implicate himself and suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the gruesome killings of three Waltham men on September 11, 2011.
Florida State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton’s announcement comes nine months after Todashev’s death, and one day after Boston magazine’s publication of “The Murders Before the Marathon,” an extensive investigation by reporter Susan Zalkind that delves into the failure of local police to solve the Waltham murders—perhaps missing an opportunity to prevent the Marathon bombings. The Boston magazine investigation, conducted in collaboration with public radio’s This American Life (which will air a broadcast version of the story on March 7), also shines new light into a previously under-explored area of the case: the FBI’s actions in the aftermath of Todashev’s killing. Several of Todashev’s friends were subsequently deported or prevented from re-entering the United States—including his live-in girlfriend, who was told she was being thrown out of the country for speaking with Boston magazine.
Ashton’s investigation was triggered by intense pressure from media outlets and the American Civil Liberties Union, who were concerned about the FBI’s ability to adequately investigate itself. As the New York Times has reported, in 150 shootings by FBI agents over the past two decades, the agency’s internal investigations have never found a single instance of internal wrongdoing. The FBI gave vague and conflicting reports of the circumstances surrounding Todashev’s shooting, then quashed a coroner’s report. (Todashev’s father has stated his intentions to file a wrongful death suit pending the results of the report.)
The Florida State Attorney’s office issued its promise just hours after MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow picked up Boston’s “blistering” cover story and ran a 10-minute segment on the case, calling on FBI director James Comey to hold his agency accountable in Todashev’s killing. Up to that point, the state attorney’s office had been silent since December, when Ashton told reporters he’d met with the agents from the Department of Justice and received “additional investigative material,” and that his report would be released in early 2014.