Photos Raise Questions About Shooting of Cuffed Muslim Leader
Medical Examiner Photos Also Show Deep Lacerations on Face
By BETH TRIBOLET and SHARAF MOWJOOD
April 7, 2010
A fiery Muslim leader who was shot dead during an attempt to arrest him in Dearborn, Mich., was found to have been riddled with 21 shots including one in the back. He also had a broken jaw, broken teeth and his hands were cuffed behind his back, according to an autopsy report.
An autopsy photo obtained by ABC News shows Imam Ameen Abdullah Luqman lying face down on the ground with his hands clearly cuffed behind him.
Additional photos obtained by ABC News also show deep lacerations on Luqman's face that his family believes may have been caused by a police dog.
Federal authorities claim that Luqman, 53, was killed last October in a Dearborn trailer after failing to surrender to police. The day before the raid, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint that alleged conspiracy to commit federal crimes including theft from interstate shipments, mail fraud to obtain proceeds from arson, illegal sale and possession of firearms and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers. These allegation were made through the use of confidential informants, the documents state.
Click here to see an autopsy photo of Luqman's face. Beware of the graphic nature of the photograph showing deep lacerations which his family believes may have been caused by a police dog.
An FBI officer on the scene of Luqman's death reported that a police dog was sent in when Luqman refused to show officers his hands, and that Luqman shot and killed the dog. However, a press release after the incident from the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit does not say Luqman killed the dog. It simply states a canine was "killed in the exchange." The shot allegedly fired by Luqman prompted police to take the gunfire as a threat and they returned fire, according to FBI reports.
Luqman's family says there's no proof he was carrying a gun that day, and the family has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to get the necropsy report for the dead police dog to determine whether the dog was killed by a police bullet. The request has been declined.
Luqman's son, Omar Regan, asks "How did he shoot the dog if his jaw was broken and there were lacerations on his face?"
Slain Muslim Leader's Fiery Rhetoric
A spokesman for the FBI in Detroit declined to discuss the Luqman case because of ongoing investigations into what happened that day in October 2009. There is an internal FBI investigations into the shooting, as well an investigation by the Dearborn Police Department. In addition, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., asked Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this year for a separate review of the FBI's use of confidential informants.
Luqman, according to an FBI affidavit, once said in a 2004 sermon, "Do not carry a pistol if you're going to give it up to police. You give them a bullet rather than surrendering your weapons."
Luqman and his associates are described as armed and dangerous in the affidavit and complaint filed by federal authorities before the arrest. FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena said after the shooting that he was comfortable with his agents' actions. "They did what they had to do to protect themselves," he said.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations in Detroit, asked, "How could he be so sure?"
Walid said that despite Luqman's rhetoric, he was not dangerous. The Imam struggled to pay rent and heat at his mosque in Dearborn, and was evicted from a previous mosque for not paying rent. Walid says the police actions at the Detroit warehouse that day amounted to excessive force, borne out by the condition of Luqman's body when the medical examiner arrived.
The medical examiner's report says the body was cold when he arrived and rigor mortis had set in, so it was impossible to establish time of death. The police dog named "Freddy," a Belgian Malinois, was airlifted to get medical attention, while Luqman's body was eventually taken by ambulance to the hospital, according to his son. Freddy was later honored with a memorial service.
It remains unclear how Luqman's jaw came to be broken and his face so badly lacerated or when he was handcuffed.
After viewing all the autopsy photos with the Wayne County Medical Examiner, Lena Masri, an attorney for CAIR Michigan, said she believes Luqman's body may have moved been from the original location where was killed before the medical examiner arrived.
Photos Raise Questions About Muslim Leader's Death
Luqman preached overthrowing the U.S. government and establishing Islamic law, but he was not charged with terrorism. Federal authorities used informants inside Luqman's mosque to gather evidence that he and his associates were dealing in stolen goods, and illegally possessed firearms, among other charges.
Eleven associates of Luqman were subsequently charged with some or all of the following federal crimes: conspiracy to commit federal crimes, being a felon in possession of firearms, possession of firearm with altered serial number, tampering with vehicle identification numbers and aiding and abetting. When charged in court, all of the defendants refused to respond to a request to enter a plea, so the court entered a plea of not-guilty on their behalf.