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Press Release

Justice Department Concludes No Federal Criminal Violation in the Death of Imam Abdullah in Dearborn

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that the evidence does not reveal a violation of the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute or warrant further federal criminal investigation in the death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Detroit Muslim cleric, who was shot during an Oct. 28, 2009, arrest by FBI agents in Dearborn, Mich.


The department conducted a complete, thorough, and independent review of this matter. The review included examining all documents witness accounts, forensic evidence and reports, and operational plans and procedures that were generated by an FBI Inspection Division inquiry, a Dearborn Police Department investigation, and the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office. Additionally, a senior Civil Rights Division prosecutor consulted with Dearborn detectives and forensic experts and interviewed critical witnesses, including the FBI agents who shot Imam Abdullah and who voluntarily agreed to be interviewed.

To establish a violation of 18 U.S.C., Section 242, the applicable federal statute, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an official, acting under color of law, willfully deprived a person of a right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. In prosecuting a Section 242 case, the government must show that the official used unnecessary and unreasonable force that was not warranted to achieve a legitimate law enforcement purpose. The government must also prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the official acted willfully, that is, with the specific intent to do something the law forbids.

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas E. Perez met in Detroit today with members of Imam Abdullah’s family and later with representatives of interested local groups. Assistant Attorney General Perez explained based on a thorough review of the evidence, federal prosecutors have determined that the evidence does not reveal a violation of Section 242.

The attached summary of the findings regarding the shooting incident provides detailed information and legal analysis to support the department’s conclusion. This matter is being returned to the FBI to complete its administrative inquiry of the incident.


Updated August 25, 2015

Press Release Number: 10-1143