A year of allegations and innuendo surrounding the fatal shooting of a Detroit imam has been refuted by a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation. In a statement issued Wednesday, the DOJ said it found no civil rights violation occurred in the shooting death of Luqman Abdullah and determined no criminal investigation is warranted.
It's the third such review to reach the same conclusion in the past two weeks. Two weeks ago, the Dearborn Police Department and Michigan attorney general's office issued similar findings.
The imam and nearly a dozen followers had been charged with conspiracy and weapons charges. Four other suspects with Abdullah were arrested unharmed after surrendering to an advancing FBI SWAT team. Abdullah, however, initially tried to run off and concealed a handgun from advancing agents, the Michigan attorney general's report found.
Agents released a dog to subdue the suspect, who fired three shots killing the dog. The shots were fired in the agents' direction, prompting them to return fire, the report found. The review included a video capturing much of the scene, forensic evidence and interviews with people who both heard the shooting and the agents who participated in it. "We are unaware of any witnesses or evidence that contradicts the material facts," the report said.
Abdullah's allies, led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) chapter in Michigan, have waged a campaign alleging the shooting was excessive and unnecessary. Even after the two reports cleared law enforcement, advocates still demanded an "independent" review. That has been completed. According to the DOJ statement:
"The department conducted a complete, thorough, and independent review of this matter. The review included examining all documents witness accounts, forensic evidence and reports, and operational plans and procedures that were generated by an FBI Inspection Division inquiry, a Dearborn Police Department investigation, and the Wayne County Medical Examiner's office. Additionally, a senior Civil Rights Division prosecutor consulted with Dearborn detectives and forensic experts and interviewed critical witnesses, including the FBI agents who shot Imam Abdullah and who voluntarily agreed to be interviewed."
In promoting the theory that agents acted improperly, CAIR and others ignored Abdullah's long history of statements threatening law enforcement and a 1981 incident in which he reached for a gun and struggled with a police officer during a traffic stop. It's unclear whether the DOJ report will finally lay the issue to rest.
Read the full DOJ report here.