Posted by Matthew Rothschild on May 30, 2013

This story always smelled a little fishy to me.

I’m talking about the FBI’s killing of Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen down in Florida who was a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. When he was fatally shot by an FBI agent on May 22 while being questioned by several law enforcement officers, we were told that he had lunged at an agent with a knife or tried to grab the agent’s weapon.

Well, now it turns out he didn’t have a knife, according to the Washington Post. (And the excuse “he lunged for my weapon” is one of the most common police lies in the book.)

Now I’m prepared to believe that Todashev was no angel. The FBI said he confessed to involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple murder in Waltham, Massachussets, on September 11, 2011.

But Todashev, like everyone here in the United States, was supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Yet he was never charged and never faced trial. Instead, he was fatally shot seven times while unarmed.

And now we’ll never know for sure what involvement he had, or Tsarnaev had, in that triple murder or whether he, too, was involved somehow in the Boston marathon bombings.

But the larger point is simply this: Too many people in our country die at the hands of law enforcement every year.

And the excuses are often lame, as they appear to be in this case.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Obama Gets Slippery on Killing U.S. Citizens.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter