DETROIT – Michigan's attorney general said Thursday that he won't file criminal charges against FBI agents who shot a Detroit mosque leader 20 times, killing him during a raid last year on a suburban warehouse.
It is "undisputed" that Luqman Ameen Abdullah fired at agents, resisted arrest and rejected demands to surrender, Attorney General Mike Cox said.
"Under Michigan law, law enforcement agents are justified in using deadly force in these types of situations, and therefore we found no crimes," Cox said in a written statement.
Some leaders in the local Muslim community have questioned whether the agents used excessive force. Besides being shot 20 times, Abdullah had wounds that an independent forensic pathologist said were caused by an FBI dog killed during the raid last October.
Some have speculated that Abdullah may have fired his gun while trying to defend himself from the dog. Indeed, Cox's report said agents deployed the dog after the suspect failed to show his hands while on his stomach on the ground.
The dog began biting Abdullah, who rolled over, revealed a gun and fired at the dog and at agents, the report said.
Four agents returned fire and Abdullah was killed, the report said.
"It is clear that the agents acted in self-defense and/or in defense of others," the report said. "The facts show Abdullah making a series of decisions that resulted in the use of deadly force against him — and ultimately his death.
"None of Abdullah's followers who complied with the ... commands were injured in any way," the report said, referring to four others detained after the raid.
The head of the FBI in Detroit, Andrew Arena, said the report "accurately reflects what happened that day."
"There were five people in the warehouse. Four people came out without a scratch on them," Arena said in an interview. "I would encourage people to read the report."
Abdullah's widow, Amina Abdullah, said she was saddened to hear that no state charges will be filed.
"That's for real? Wow," she said. "I can't even talk. I can't even walk."
The FBI has described her husband as a leader of a radical Sunni group that wants to create an Islamic state within the U.S. Authorities say Abdullah preached hate for the government and encouraged his followers to commit violence, especially against police and federal agents.
He told an FBI informant that if the government messed with him, "it will be straight up war," according to a court document. Abdullah's family, however, has denied that he was anti-government.
There were 66 agents involved in the stolen-goods sting operation, including 29 secretly inside the warehouse before Abdullah and allies arrived that day, according to the attorney general's report. Agents rehearsed the bust three times.
The number of agents "reflects how dangerous we thought he and others were, but it also reflects an abundance of caution so we didn't have innocent bystanders wandering in," Arena said. "You plan for all the worst scenarios and hope for the best."
Dearborn police were the lead investigators in Abdullah's death because it occurred in that city. Cox said his office received video recordings, the results of 82 interviews and other documents from Dearborn police and the FBI.
Dawud Walid, the director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he wants to read the attorney general's report before commenting. But he repeated his call for all evidence to be released to the public.
The Justice Department's civil rights division has also been investigating Abdullah's death.
"Until those results are made public, along with information involved in this case, many of us won't be satisfied," Walid said.