ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The parents of a Chechen man who was fatally shot while being questioned in Florida about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect in 2013 have sued four law enforcement agents for wrongful death.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Orlando by the estate of Ibragim Todashev and Todashev’s parents against two Massachusetts state troopers, an FBI agent and an Orlando police officer who was working under the FBI’s supervision. Todashev’s estate is being represented by an official with the Council of American-Islamic Relations Florida.
The lawsuit seeks damages for lost earnings as well as funeral and medical expenses.
The agents interviewed Todashev four years ago as they looked into the background of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The men had been friends in Boston through mixed martial-arts circles.
The agents have said Todashev became agitated during the interview, grabbed a weapon and was killed. But the lawsuit claims that Todashev was leaving his apartment when he was shot, and agents tried to rearrange the scene.
“The actions of the law enforcement agents were designed to escalate conflict and attempt to justify the wrongful use of force,” the lawsuit said.
FBI spokeswoman Kristen Setera in Boson declined to comment because of the pending litigation. Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio also said he couldn’t comment on pending litigation, but that “we expect that a vigorous defense of our personnel will be presented in court.”
The lawsuit alleges that FBI agents followed, harassed and repeatedly questioned Todashev in the weeks after the Boston bombing even though he had nothing to do with it. The lawsuit also says the FBI was negligent in its investigation into the death of Todashev, who was shot seven times, and that the FBI agent who fired the shots had a history of misconduct.
“Todashev’s death … was the result of excessive force by FBI agents and negligent hiring/ supervision by the FBI – all of which resulted in Todashev’s wrongful death,” the lawsuit said.