See video from FOX 2 Detroit regarding FOIA lawsuits filed against Dearborn Police Department and Detroit Police Department.
Group Sues for Details on Imam’s Death in Raid
DETROIT—A leading Muslim advocacy group is accusing local and state law-enforcement agencies of improperly withholding information about an FBI-led raid last fall in which a local Muslim cleric suspected of running a criminal gang was fatally shot by agents.
In three separate lawsuits filed Monday and last week in Wayne County Circuit Court, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations alleges that the Dearborn, Mich., and Detroit police, as well as the Michigan State Police, have denied or ignored at least 10 Freedom of Information Act filings made by CAIR, including requests for surveillance tapes, witness testimony and a recording of a 911 call.
“It is our organizational position that there has been systematic suppression of public information,” Dawud Walid, CAIR-MI’s executive director, said Monday. “We believe that the people of Michigan, the people of the United States and the people of the world have a right to know what happened in this case.”
The police agencies didn’t return calls seeking comment. The Justice Department, which also didn’t return calls for comment, hasn’t released the results of its investigation into the October 2009 raid.
The FBI-led raid on a suburban warehouse targeted Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, who was connected to a group known as Ummah that seeks to establish a separate state within the U.S. under strict Islamic law.
Mr. Abdullah was being sought on charges that he was training followers in the use of firearms and martial arts in anticipation of action against the government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said at the time. Six other men were arrested in the case on suspicion of numerous offenses, including illegal possession of firearms and trafficking in stolen goods.
Authorities say the 53-year-old Mr. Abdullah—an African-American who was born Christopher Thomas—refused to surrender to authorities during the raid. He was fatally shot after allegedly firing on a police dog. An autopsy report obtained by CAIR and others shows that he was shot more than 20 times.
The leader of Ummah is a former Black Panther in prison for the murder of two police officers. Mr. Abdullah had been under surveillance for several years, but had no ties to groups like al Qaeda, authorities said.