Leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan chapter are blasting a Justice Department review of last year's shooting death of a Detroit imam after the review found agents acted appropriately.
CAIR officials have spent the past year trying to cast the shooting as unjust and excessive. They were joined at a news conference Thursday by leaders of several community groups and Imam Luqman Abdullah's son. Dawud Walid, CAIR's Michigan director, called the DOJ review "superficial and incomplete" and demanded the Justice Department examine the tactics used in the arrest, which featured SWAT teams and officers from numerous agencies.
The DOJ investigation, as probes by the Michigan Attorney General and Dearborn police before it, made it clear that Abdullah's history of threatening law enforcement and other inflammatory rhetoric was at the forefront of agents' thinking. Still, Walid and CAIR attorney Lena Masri cast the "military-type operation" as excessive and something that should be reserved for terrorists or drug kingpins.
"We pray that not a single American will ever again lose their life at the hands of law enforcement officers in an overblown military type raid," Walid said.
Though he was not charged with terror-related crimes, Abdullah preached offensive jihad and dreamed of creating a break-away Islamic nation inside the United States, the criminal complaint against him said.
None of the speakers at Thursday's news conference acknowledged that Abdullah's decisions not to peacefully surrender led to his death. Nor did they acknowledge that four other suspects did comply with agents' commands during the arrests and were unharmed.
Videotapes show Abdullah first tried to run off as agents moved in. When he did lie down as instructed, he kept his hands under his torso despite repeated instructions to show them, agents' statements said. The video then shows one agent release an FBI dog, then flinch – indicating when Abdullah opened fire – then showed the agents fire back. The dog was shot in the chest three times by 9 mm bullets.
Agents found a Glock 9mm handgun next to Abdullah after the shooting. It had three bullets missing from its 17-bullet clip. When they searched Abdullah's home, agents found "the same brands of 9mm ammunition" which killed the dog.
Masri, however, cited the absence of fingerprints on the gun among factors that she said left that version open to question: echoed. "There is absolutely no evidence that the imam even held a gun, let alone fired it," said Masri, who also represents the Abdullah family.
That begs a question none of the assembled reporters thought to ask: If your suspicions are correct, who killed the dog?
For there to be wrongdoing, agents would have had to shoot their own dog without being seen on video and plant the gun next to Abdullah's body without the other suspects seeing. The suspects arrested that day still face prosecution and have refused to answer investigators' questions.
That's a pretty sophisticated scam for agents who, the report notes, never have "been the subject of a civil rights complaint nor had any previously fired his weapon at another person."
For CAIR's outrage to be justified, the Dearborn Police Department, Michigan's attorney general and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice all have conspired to conceal wrongdoing by FBI agents. Or maybe, a man who made repeated threats to shoot police officers rather than go peacefully tried to live up to his word.