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FBI Agent Shoots Man on Metro After 'Verbal Altercation,' but Still No Answers a Month Later

AP Photo/Matt York

Is the FBI exempt from scrutiny by the public after an officer-involved shooting? It sure seems so. A month ago, an FBI agent got into a “verbal altercation” with a man on the Metro subway in Maryland and shot him. We still don’t even know if the victim is alive, nor do we know his name. We also don’t know the name of the agent who shot him. There is no public outcry to uncover these facts.

The FBI press office is not answering any questions. They don’t answer their phone and their mailbox is full. How convenient. I recorded myself attempting to reach them for proof.

Journalist James Bovard reported on this story. 

Last Tuesday, an FBI agent pulled out his gun and repeatedly shot a passenger on the Washington subway. At the bottom of B6 in Saturday’s Washington Post – buried past an article headlined, “Despite the upcoming solstice, winter has already arrived” is a short piece headlined: “Police:‘Verbal exchange’ preceded Metro shooting.” There were zero news reports or disclosures for the two days after the shooting – except for a brief FBI note that there had been an “officer-involved shooting” on the subway.

What did the passenger say that provoked the shooting? It’s a secret – at least for the time being….

If someone had shot an FBI agent without provocation on the subway five days ago, we would already know all about the shooter’s life – how many cat videos he liked on Twitter, how many crude jokes he told in high school, and whether he had any unpaid jaywalking tickets from 1997. If the person had any right-wing connections, the Southern Poverty Law Center might have heaved in a bucket of derision. If the person had any ties to radical leftists, Fox News might have hyped the case to expose the depravity of anyone who distrusts law enforcement.

But instead, the shooter was an FBI agent – so we don’t even know his name – or whether he has unjustifiably shot other people before, or been accused of excessive force in formal complaints. Instead, all we know is that the guy was a federal agent – and thus will benefit from all the immunities which politicians, judges, and FBI officials have heaped upon that class.

Two days earlier, a Post piece groused that “the FBI would not even answer questions about whether the person who was sent to the hospital was still alive.” That article lamented, “The lack of information follows a pattern in the Washington area of different levels of disclosure for officer-involved shootings…. When a federal agency is involved, transparency is often an afterthought” when federal agents shoot private citizens.

Will there be any marches to demand accountability from the FBI? The chances of that are close to zero since most of the media never even bothered to report the shooting in the first place. Why are police shootings covered so doggedly, but FBI shootings are whitewashed out of the news? Bovard found a few other facts about federal shootings that should concern us all.

Five years ago, a Washington Post analysis gingerly noted that “details about shootings involving federal officers tend to be particularly closely held.” It took the Post almost two months to simply learn the name of a man killed during a 2015 FBI pornography raid in Chester, Penn. Apparently the only thing that the public was entitled to know was that the FBI killed a bad person.

Bovard pointed out that the FBI is notorious for exonerating its own and ruled themselves justified in killing Vicki Weaver, who was holding her baby, at Ruby Ridge, among 150 other officer-involved shootings. Bovard has the details in his article, which is a must-read. 

Is there any reason why we should not defund an agency that actively hides information from the public about killing members of that public?

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