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Department of Interior review requested by lawmakers in 2017 shooting death of Bijan Ghaisar

Rebecca Barnabi
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On November 17, 2017, two U.S. Park Police officers shot and killed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar.

Ghaisar, who was unarmed, was involved in a car accident with another motorist, who called 9-1-1. U.S. Park Police officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard pursued Ghaisar’s vehicle and fired 10 shots at him in Fairfax County. Video of the shooting was available because of dashboard footage from the Fairfax County Police Department.

Ghaisar later died in the hospital of the wounds he sustained in the shooting.

On the sixth anniversary of Ghaisar’s death, U.S. Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington D.C. wrote to Secretary Deb Haaland urging implementation of reform at the Department of the Interior (DOI) to improve transparency in law enforcement agencies. They also requested a wholistic internal review of the Ghaisar case by the Department of the Interior (DOI).

“We are writing to ask that you revisit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Park Police and FBI for officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. The process that followed the 2017 shooting death by Park Police of Bijan Ghaisar revealed a failure by the two departments to demonstrate a level of transparency and management of the incident that reinforced public trust. The Park Police’s response to the case was the antithesis of a commitment to transparency and clarity. Revisiting how communications and incidents are shared and handled between these two agencies is imperative.”

The Department of Justice’s review of Ghaisar’s death and the civil case related to the shooting have concluded, and the lawmakers request a follow up to Beyer’s request agreed to by then-Park Police Chief MacLean on February 26, 2018, for an internal, wholistic review of the case by DOI.

Related stories:

Judge dismisses case against Park Police officers in Bijan Ghaisar shooting – Augusta Free Press

DOJ not reopening investigation into Bijan Ghaisar shooting – Augusta Free Press


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.