Family of man killed in raid sues FBI

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The family of a Detroit mosque leader shot and killed in a 2009 FBI raid are suing FBI agents for using “excessive force causing wrongful death,” according to the lawsuit, filed Oct. 26, with the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division.

On Oct. 28, 2009, Luqman Ameen Abdullah (aka Christopher Thomas), 53, former imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque, 118 Joy Road in Detroit, was shot and killed after he allegedly shot an FBI dog, Freddy, during a sting operation at an east end warehouse, 5171 Miller Road.

Freddy later died from injuries.

The Dearborn police were not involved in the FBI raid.

The FBI sting operation resulted from a two-year undercover investigation into what the FBI alleged is a group of “violent Islamic fundamentalists.”

According to a 2010 Michigan Attorney General investigation report, Abdullah – and four associates – were inside the warehouse moving what they thought were stolen flat-screen TVs from one semitrailer to another. About 30 FBI agents hid in various points throughout the building; about 60 FBI agents participated in the sting in total.

Once all of the suspects were inside, an informant and two undercover agents, who helped move the TVs, left the warehouse. When the last one left, agents wearing tactical gear detonated explosives and stormed the building with their rifles drawn.

The FBI said the four men with Abdullah surrendered without incident, but Abdullah went to one of the semitrailers nearby and laid down on his hands, refusing to show them to agents who headed toward him, the report said.

Agents told Abdullah they would release a K-9 dog if he didn’t comply with their orders, but he allegedly refused. When the FBI released the K-9, Abdullah pulled out a handgun and fired at the dog, in the direction of law enforcement agents, according to the report.

The agents returned fire; Abdullah died four seconds later.

In the suit, Abdullah’s family states that he did not display a gun; a United States Attorneys Office- Eastern District of Michigan report stated that Abdullah did not surrender and fired his weapon.

The suit maintains that FBI agents fired about 20 rounds at Abdullah, causing his death, according to the suit.

The suit includes a sworn affidavit signed by one of the four men, Muhammad Abudul Salam, who, according to the suit, witnessed the events.

In the suit the family requests “reasonable medical, funeral and burial expenses,” among other compensations.

Rod Hansen, United States Eastern District Court Media information officer, said the next step in the suit is for the named officers to file an answer to the complaint.

“Virtually nothing has happened on the case other than the initial complaint,” Hansen said.

In 2009, a 45-page criminal complaint the FBI filed in October 2009 described Abdullah as a high-placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist group of mostly black Sunni Muslims, some of whom converted to Islam while in prison. The group, known as “The Ummah” or “The Brotherhood,” seeks to establish a sovereign Islamic state within the borders of the United States, the complaint said.

Investigators said Abdullah and his followers advocated a “violent jihad” against the government and law enforcement targets, which included FBI offices in Detroit and government facilities in Washington, D.C.

In 2009, Dawud Walid, Council on American-Islamic Relations executive director- Michigan Chapter, questioned the investigation.

Walid said in 2009, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to review the case because the FBI would not provide her with certain evidence.

Former Attorney General Mike Cox “was forced to review it by default, essentially,” Walid said. “The Wayne County Prosecutor declined to review the case because she said she couldn’t get certain evidence from the FBI, and it hasn’t been made clear if (the Attorney General’s Office) had access to that evidence.”

Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Spokeswoman Maria Miller said the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office did not review the case.

“That situation did not change,” Miller said. “It was eventually investigated by the Office of the Michigan Attorney General… we would not be privy to that information.”

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on any civil litigation.

Walid’s representative said he declined to comment on the suit or FBI investigation.

Cox said in a 2009 statement that state prosecutors concluded that FBI agents acted in self-defense when they fired on Abdullah.