By Fire Tom Friedman Given my propensity to write fake reports, I'm probably not the best one to break down the Florida AG's report on Todashev's killing. But I've spent a couple of hours with it, and there's a lot that doesn't come close to making sense. Let's start with the coffee table.
According to the official version of events, Massachusetts State Trooper Number Two is outside the apartment, while Trooper One and FBI Agent are inside with Todashev. Trooper One is sitting on the stairs to the apartment's second floor. FBI Agent is sitting in a folding chair across from Todashev, who is sitting on a mattress. In between the FBI Agent and Todashev is a large white coffee table. Todashev is writing his confession on the table. Here's a picture of Todashev sitting in front of the table without the FBI agent.
Trooper One is getting concerned that Todashev is getting more and more agitated after confessing to Waltham murders. So he texts Trooper Two and FBI Agent, “Be on guard. He is in vulnerable position to do something bad. Be on guard now. I see him looking around at times.” But Trooper Two is on the phone so he doesn't see the text and stays outside the apartment. Meanwhile, Trooper One does not hear a "ding" indicating that FBI Agent received his text so he looks down at his phone to make sure his message went through. At that moment, FBI Agent looks down at his notepad.
With no eyes on him, Todashev leaps into action. He flips the coffee table into the air, striking FBI Agent. He then runs into the kitchen and starts rummaging around. Todashev then picks up a red broom stick and charges Trooper One. FBI Agent, thinking both his own and Trooper One's lives are in danger, shoots Todashev 3 times. When that doesn't stop Todashev, he fire four more bullets and kills him.
OK. Back to the table. According to the official version: 1) Both Troopers and FBI Agent were very concerned about interviewing Todashev in his home because they knew he was violent; after all the FBI had witnessed Todashev beat up a man badly in a parking lot (without intervening) and also watched Todashev's MMA videos on YouTube. 2) Both Trooper One and FBI Agent were very concerned Todashev becoming increasingly agitated and going to try something. 3) Despite these concerns, one Trooper left the room while both FBI Agent and Trooper One took their eyes off Todashev. 4) Todashev attacked at the very instant he was unwatched. (This version of events is found in both the State AG's report and his letter summarizing his findings.
But it gets much weirder. Here's a picture of FBI agent's head where he was supposedly hit by flying table.
Notice the gash is on on the back on his head. Now remember, he's sitting facing Todashev looking down at his note pad. How did the coffee table cause this wound? Go back and look at the coffee table. It's big. Granted, Todashev is one strong dude. But he threw the coffee high enough in the air to come down and land on FBI Agent's head from above?
And then there's this: When Trooper One submitted written testimony (p.34) the day after the incident, he wrote "I was sitting on the stairs across from SA (FBI Agent) , who was sitting in a chair directly across from Todaschev, who was sitting on the bed. A small table (emphasis added) separated SA and Todaschev."
But the real kicker is this: The FBI Agent's description of what happened to his head (p. 46), also taken from written testimony the next day.
I was reading my notepad when I heard a loud noise and suddenly felt a blow to the back of my head. I was knocked partially off my chair, but caught myself. I saw Todashev running past me and I tried to grab him. I removed my weapon from the holster and aimed the gun at Todashev who had run towards the kitchen.
To recap: In testimony the next day, FBI Agent doesn't even mention being hit with a flying table, just that he "felt a blow to the back of my head." Now I understand that he was looking down at his notepad, but he didn't happen to notice that the blow to his head was caused by that big (small?) coffee table flying through the air?
The official FBI and Massachusetts State Police version of the coffee table -- faithfully regurgitated by Florida DA -- is crap. And that's just the coffee table. There's so much more blatant and obvious bullshit in these here 500 pages.
This article was originally published at Fire Tom Friedman's blog.