When FBI Shoots Someone, It’s Always Justified…According to the FBI
Agents working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can do no wrong in the eyes of their superiors when it comes to shooting someone.
FBI agents killed about 70 people, and wounded another 80 or so, between 1993 and 2011—and in every case, the bureau ruled the incidents justified, according to a review of bureau records by The New York Times.
The newspaper also found that in most of the shootings, the FBI was the only government body to review the incidents.
Out of 289 times that agents fired their weapon, only five were disciplined. But in those five cases, no one was hurt or killed, and the agent merely received a letter of censure.
“Critics say the fact that for at least two decades no agent has been disciplined for any instance of deliberately shooting someone raises questions about the credibility of the bureau’s internal investigations,” Charlie Savage and Michael S. Schmidt wrote for the Times.
Samuel Walker, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska Omaha who studies internal law enforcement investigations, called the bureau’s conclusions about cases of improper shootings “suspiciously low.”
The issue of FBI culpability was revived because of the May 22 fatal shooting in Orlando of Ibragim Todashev, who was a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Various versions of the confrontation between Todashev and the FBI have emerged, but there is still no official one, and, at the request of the FBI, the county medical examiner has refused to publically discuss Todashev’s cause of death.
“Our doctor knows exactly what happened, but he’s not able to release it just yet,” spokeswoman Sheri Blanton told the Boston Globe.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
The F.B.I. Deemed Agents Faultless in 150 Shootings (by Charlie Savage and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times)
F.B.I. Shooting Incident Reviews, 1993-2011 (New York Times)
FBI Tight-Lipped on Todashev Killing (by Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe)
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