OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The FBI agent who fatally shot the friend of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect in Florida last year had a brief and rocky history at the Oakland Police Department, according to a Boston Globe report.
Aaron McFarlane, 41, is believed to be the FBI Special Agent who fatally shot 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev in his Orlando apartment last May after Todashev allegedly hurled a table at him.
McFarlane, who is assigned to the FBI’s Boston office, and two Massachusetts state troopers had planned to question Todashev about his friend Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men accused of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon last year.
Over the past year, FBI and Massachusetts officials refused to identify the two state troopers and the FBI agent involved in the shooting of Todashev. McFarlane was identified as the agent by the Globe’s research through court documents and government records
While an Oakland police officer, McFarlane testified for the defense in “the Riders” police corruption trial, which accused four Oakland officers of beating and planting drugs on suspects in West Oakland in 2000. No officers were convicted in those cases. But in McFarlane’s four year stint with Oakland, he was also named in two police brutality lawsuits and four internal affairs investigations.
Lawyers who had sued McFarlane were surprised he was hired by the FBI.
“If it is true that they hired a man who was sued twice for police brutality, this raises serious questions not just about the events that night in Florida, but about the hiring practices of the Bureau,” said Ian Kelley, a San Francisco lawyer who sued McFarlane in a 2002 police brutality lawsuit that was settled in 2004.
President of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association Barry Donelan told the Globe McFarlane was a “very good police officer.” Oakland, with one of the highest crime rates in the nation and an understaffed police force, is a “toxic and very tough” environment to work in as an officer, Donelan said.
McFarlane retired from the department on medical disability in 2004 at age 31 with a pension of more than $52,000 annually.