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Muslim Group Pressing FBI Over 2013 Death

(CN) - A Muslim-American civil rights group filed a notice of claim Monday with the FBI over the shooting death of Ibragim Todashev, a friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Todashev, a Chechen émigré who was described in various newspaper accounts following his death as a "former mixed martial artist," was shot dead in his Orlando, Fla., apartment on May 23, 2013, while being questioned by the FBI.

At the time, officials said Todashev had implicated both himself and Tsarnaev in the Boston Marathon bombings and an earlier triple homicide in Waltham, Mass, when he suddenly attacked FBI agent Aaron McFarlane.

As described by The Boston Globe, " ... the room exploded. Authorities said Tosashev hurled a coffee table at a Boston FBI agent, striking him in the head, and then charged the agent and a Massachusetts state trooper with a metal broomstick."

A week later, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida held a news conference in Orlando in which they claimed the FBI had used excessive force on Todashev over the course of eight hours of questioning, and exhibited photographs of the young man's body which it said showed he'd been shot seven times, including once in the head.

The Council asked the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the shooting to determine whether the FBI violated Todashev's civil rights. The ACLU followed suit on June 5, 2013, asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into the case.

On March 24, 2014, the Justice Department and a Florida prosecutor ruled separately that McFarlane acted in self-defense.

On Monday, the Council filed its notice of claim, explaining that it was still trying to get to of what happened.

"We are seeking answers and justice for someone who was shot seven times by an FBI agent in his own home after hours of interrogation," said Thania Diaz Clevenger, Civil Rights Director for CAIR Florida, in a written statement.

"Beyond our concern for the injustice done to Ibragim and his family, CAIR Florida accepted the case for the light it sheds on FBI malpractice and the opportunity it provides to advocate for reform. We must hold our civil servants to the highest standards," Clevenger said.

As it has in the past, the Council maintains the FBI negligently hired McFarlane, whom in claims was involved in two police brutality lawsuits and four internal affairs investigations when he was a member of the Oakland Police Department in California.

They are also questioning why the interview with Todashev was conducted in his apartment "instead of in a secured environment," and whether the agency's internal review process is rigorous enough to hold alleged bad apple agents to account.

In a statement of their own, Todashev's family claims, "The murder of our son is unjust and is a result of the FBI's abuse of their power."

The Council said filing the notice of claim is the first step in a process they believe will highlight flawed FBI policies.

"The organization hopes that the suit will bring justice for the Todashev family and reform the hiring, investigative, and internal review practices they believe led to Todashev's death," the Council said.

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