Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Refusal to Release Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah's Autopsy Raises Suspicions in Detroit

December 22, 2009

Refusal to release imam's autopsy raises suspicions

County medical examiner cites investigation as the reason for holding on to information

The Detroit News

Dearborn -- The Wayne County medical examiner's refusal to release its autopsy report on Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah is fueling concerns in the Muslim community about a possible cover-up of facts surrounding his death, a community leader said Monday.

Abdullah, 53, was killed Oct. 28 in a gunfight with the FBI at a
Dearborn warehouse. The FBI said Abdullah, an alleged leader of a
radical Muslim separatist group involved in fencing stolen goods,
fired a weapon that killed an FBI dog.

The county Medical Examiner's Office denied a Nov. 2 request The
Detroit News filed for Abdullah's medical examiner report, saying it
was not complete.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations of Michigan, said the county office has not responded to a
request from his organization requesting a copy of the report once it
is completed. The office also quoted exorbitant fees for copies of
autopsy photos, he said.

Dennis Niemiec, a spokesman for the county, confirmed Monday that the report is completed but is being withheld at the request of Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad, who does not want the report released until his department completes its investigation. The county will seek more information from Haddad about how the release of the report would hamper his investigation, Niemiec said.

Haddad could not be reached for comment.

Walid said medical examiner reports are frequently released during
active police investigations.

"The unfortunate and perhaps unintended consequence is that the
failure to release the autopsy report and the very exorbitant amount
for the pictures is raising in the minds of some people in the
community that there's a potential cover-up," Walid said.

How many times he was shot, whether he suffered dog bites, and whether Abdullah was handcuffed after he was shot are among the questions on people's minds, Walid said.

Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said it was not the federal agency's call to withhold the report. However,
"evidence is often not released during an ongoing investigation," she

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