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Justice Department finds no crime in imam's killing in FBI raid

By Tom Cohen, CNN
  • No further investigation is planned into shooting death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah
  • Abdullah fired at agents who in the October 2009 raid in Michigan, authorities say
  • A Justice Department official meets with Abdullah's family to explain the decision

Washington (CNN) -- No federal crime occurred when FBI agents shot to death a Muslim cleric in Michigan during a raid last year, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

A Justice Department statement said no further investigation is needed in the death of Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who died on October 28, 2009, in the raid in Dearborn, Michigan.

Abdullah was fatally shot after he fired at law enforcement agents who were trying to arrest him and four other suspects, authorities say. An FBI dog also was killed.

Authorities say Abdullah was the imam at a Detroit mosque where he preached offensive jihad, including violence against the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies.

He was one of 11 men charged last year with conspiracy to commit federal crimes, including theft from interstate shipments, mail fraud to obtain the proceeds of arson, illegal possession and sale of firearms, and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers, the FBI said.

A criminal complaint stated that Abdullah repeatedly told three confidential informants he would never be taken alive, saying, "If they're coming to get me, I'll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody."

In Wednesday's statement, the Justice Department said that to establish a criminal violation in the case, the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an officer acted "with the specific intent to do something the law forbids."

Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, met with members of Abdullah's family on Wednesday to explain that the evidence "does not reveal" a criminal violation, the statement said.

According to the criminal complaint that led to last year's raids, Abdullah and other targeted people belonged to Ummah, a nationwide group of mostly African-American members, including some who converted to Islam while in prison.

Ummah is led by Jamil Abdullah al-Amin-- formerly H. Rap Brown -- a 1960s radical and former member of the Black Panthers who once called violence "as American as cherry pie." He is serving a life sentence in the federal Supermax prison in Colorado for killing two Georgia police officers in 2000.

In the 43-page criminal complaint, authorities said the arrests made during the raid were based on information gleaned from three confidential sources.

All of the defendants "are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years, and known to be armed," the FBI said.