Posted on Jun 04, 2013

The father of Chechen immigrant Ibragim Todashev has accused law enforcement officials of murdering his son after presenting photographs that show seven bullet wounds, one on the top of his head and several others in the frontal chest region, on his son’s body.

Abdulbaki Todashev, Ibragim’s father, said in a press conference in Moscow, “I just would like to say that looking at these photos is like being in a movie. I only saw things like that in movies: shooting a person, and then the kill shot. Six shots in the body, one of them in the head.”

27-year-old Ibragim Todashev was being questioned regarding his connection to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamarlen Tsarnaev as well as a drug related triple homicide that occurred in Waltham, MA in 2011. Authorities claim that Todashev was in the process of issuing a written confession of the triple homicide, and implicating Tsarnaev, when he exploded and initiated a violent confrontation.

Conflicting stories have been reported since Todashev was killed on May 22nd, 2013 in his Orlando, FL home. Initially, the Associated Press reported that officials claimed Todashev “lunged at an FBI agent with a knife” before being fired upon.

Then, an Orlando television station reported that Todashev was unarmed but “could have possibly been going for his gun or the sword in the room, and that’s when the agent opened fire.” Others have claimed that he attacked the agent with a metal pole or possibly a broomstick. After a week of rampant speculation, the prevailing opinion (for now) is that Todashev was unarmed.

Still, the question remains as to why five law enforcement officials resorted to lethal force. The only way to justify such actions is by classifying Todashev as an “imminent threat”, meaning that they were shooting out of self-defense. Even in such cases, they are still expected to use “minimum force”.

Nevertheless, can we reasonably conclude that 3-5 law enforcement officials couldn’t restrain one man without shooting him seven times? And why was each shot aimed at his upper body and none at his legs? How dangerous could this unarmed man have possibly been given that he was still recovering from his knee surgery which took place in March?

Even if we assume the worst of Todashev and jump to the conclusion that he was involved in the triple homicide and even the Boston Marathon Bombing, wouldn’t it be in the authorities’ best interest to keep him alive for questioning? In this case, he would have been privy to all sorts of information that authorities need to get to the bottom of both crimes. No matter what way you look at it, an important witness is now dead.

Perhaps the most startling thing to consider is the implications of the bullet wound on the top of Todashev’s head. Is it possible that the bullet Todashev took to the head really was the “kill shot”, as his father suggests?

It’s hard to imagine how one FBI agent, who was reportedly knocked to the floor, hit Todashev with six shots to the frontal chest region and one shot on the top of the head in a “defensive” manner. It might lead one to wonder if the FBI agent put his gun to Todashev’s head with the intent of “finishing him off” in accordance with his father’s version of events.

Assuming the head shot was the final shot, one must ask why the previous six shots to the frontal chest region were not enough? And if the head shot wasn’t the last shot, why on earth would additional shots be necessary?

The death of Ibragim Todashev has certainly provides more questions than answers. But we all must be mindful of the fact that police are to be using “minimum force” when apprehending a suspect. In this case, it’s hard to believe that law enforcement officials really needed all seven shots to deal with this “imminent threat”.

Jill Erin Wellskopf
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