Ibragim and the Gun or Knife or Broom

Abdulbaki Todashev

This is Abdulbaki Todashev holding up a photograph that he alleges is his son Ibragim, who an FBI agent recently killed during an interrogation. Here in the United States we don’t generally believe that law enforcement officers take people into custody and kill them in cold blood. And indeed, in this case, the FBI claims that Ibragim attacked the agent. With a gun.

Or a knife.

Or maybe a samurai sword.

But more likely a metal rod.

No. A broomstick. That’s the ticket![1]

As Conor Friedersdorf reported in The Atlantic on Friday, all of these weapons have been reported. And look: I understand. We have yet to get an official statement on this case. What we might be seeing is nothing more than an unfortunate, very public game of telephone. Then again, maybe an FBI agent went on tilt and blew away this young man.

Other parts of the story are suspect. What we think we know is that Ibragim was writing down a confession. The agent looked away. Ibragim used the opportunity to flip the table over, causing the agent fall to the floor. Ibragim came toward him with a broomstick (or whatever), so the agent pulled his gun and shot him several times, knocking the young man back. But Ibragim got back up and came at the agent again who fired more times, killing him. Again: we don’t know.

But it looks bad. There are a couple of things. The whole matter of the kid getting back up after he was blown back smells fishy—especially after hours of questioning. What’s more, there was a Massachusetts State Police detective in the house who did not shoot his gun at all. Now, I can see how that could happen. But it smells fishy. And that brings us back to Abdulbaki Todashev’s photographs of his son. If they are real, how did Ibragim get shot though the top of his skull? This whole story smells worse than an unregulated Asian seafood market.

My guess at this point (and that’s all it is), is that Ibragim did come after the agent. And the agent freaked out. He totally lost it and killed the kid when a calmer person might have shot the kid, but wouldn’t have unloaded on him. At this time (and I’m very eager to know more), it seems unlikely that the agent killed Ibragim without any cause. But on the other side, this just doesn’t look justified. Time will tell.


[1] Some broomsticks are metal rods, so it could be both. However, a wooden broomstick is actually a better weapon; the metal kind are flimsy.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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