Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Probe clears FBI in Puerto Rican independence leader's death
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI was justified in its handling of the controversial shooting death last year of a Puerto Rican independence movement leader, a Justice Department investigation concluded.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios, leader of the Macheteros movement, bled to death after he was wounded in September 2005 by FBI sniper fire. The killing prompted allegations in Puerto Rico that the FBI intentionally allowed him to die.

But the inspector general's report rejected the charges, concluding the decision to delay by 18 hours entry into Ojeda's home, where the shooting occurred, resulted from legitimate agent safety concerns.

The Macheteros organization has claimed responsibility for acts of violence since the 1970s in its campaign to win independence for Puerto Rico. In 1985, Ojeda was arrested for his participation in a 1983 Wells Fargo robbery and wounding of an FBI agent in West Hartford, Connecticut. He was convicted in 1992 while a federal fugitive.

Inspector General Glenn Fine found "deficiencies in the FBI's conduct of the arrest operation," including delayed communications between FBI headquarters and agents at the scene.

The FBI said the independent probe will "contribute significantly," adding: "Although careful planning and preparation are a part of every arrest scenarios undertaken by the FBI, shooting incidents are sometimes an unfortunate result given the nature of the FBI's mission."
Posted By Terry Frieden, CNN Washington Bureau: 8/09/2006 12:17:00 PM ET | Permalink
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