Why the FBI and DOJ are still wrong
By Heather Jackson
October 25, 2010. As we approach the anniversary of the death of local Imam Luqman Abdallah, many questions remain unanswered. If one has the right to innocence until proven guilty, then it would surely stand that in death one has more of a right to that innocence until it is proven guilty. Imam Luqman lost his life without an opportunity to be heard. At the very least, law enforcement officials must prove that the taking of this man’s life was warranted. For the community to ignore this issue would be to the detriment of its citizens. If it can happen to one person, it can happen to all.
The Detroit Free Press recently offered a few minutes of the tape they acquired through a FOIA request depicting the take down in the warehouse including the death of Imam Luqman. The tape raises many more questions than it answers. The tape depicts men in a warehouse working, and then what amounts to CQC or close quarters combat. CQC is typically used to move quickly to subdue potential criminals who are thought to be highly violent, i.e., hostage situations. As one can clearly see in this video, these men were clearly caught off guard and seemingly scared. They had no visible weapons. Once the lasers were visible, they were surrendering and on the floor. The video is not helpful in understanding why Imam Luqman was shot, as there is no clear depiction of what happened. All that can be seen is a hesitation on the part of Imam Luqman to get on the ground, men with drawn guns, a dog going in and out.
According to the information that has been made available to the public, the FBI initiated this investigation based on some informant’s ideas that this group of impoverished Black Muslim men were plotting to somehow overthrow the government. After three years of surveillance and with at least one if not more informants inside, they were not able to make a case for treason or terrorism. At the end of the day, they claimed only petty crimes that are normally handled by local police departments.
It is normal for the unit initiating an investigation to continue it. What gets confusing in this case is why the FBI targeted these people to begin with and why when they discovered this was not a group with terrorist activities they didn’t either turn this over to local law enforcement or discontinue using tactics meant for such activities like CQC? In the absence of the DOJ independent investigation answering these questions or the FBI themselves, these questions remain especially when you compare this case to another that was within months of Imam Luqman’s death.
In March 2010, nine members of the Hutaree militia group were arrested and taken without incident into custody by local law enforcement in three different states including Michigan. This militia group had plans, training and tactical plans to assault law enforcement agencies to start a revolution within the United States. The Federal judge in this case released the nine people arrested to be freed until trial citing the prosecutors did not demonstrate that they were of potential harm to anyone if they were released.
When you have one group of men who are unarmed, indigent and moving TVs in warehouse and believed to be religious men in a community of religious people taken into custody in such a violent way that one dies as a result, and you have another group who have weapons, plans and training and are taken without incident and released this raises large and looming questions. One obvious difference is that the Hutaree members are white and these Muslim men were majority black. In the American narrative that raises a lot of issues. Is it race that made the difference here? The Hutaree claim to be Christian and Imam Luqman was clearly Muslim. Was religion the issue? Where are those we are to entrust with service and protection to answer these questions.
As we approach the anniversary of a seemingly innocent man’s death, we should not get lost in details and remember the larger questions why were these men targeted and that every man even in death is innocent until proven guilty. Why is the government willing to forego trust with its citizens? What is it hiding? We have a duty to question the methods used to protect us.