Who was Bijan Ghaisar? Two US Park Police officers charged in shooting of 25-year-old unarmed Virginia man
Two USPP (United States Park Police) officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard have been charged in the fatal shooting and killing of a 25-year-old unarmed driver, Bijan Ghaisar. According to Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano, the two officers have been indicted separately, on the charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm. Descano told in a statement, “Bijan Ghaisar was an individual that was involved in a minor traffic accident and was shot and killed by law enforcement minutes later. It left a family with a great loss and a community with a lot of unanswered questions. Today, we move a step closer to answers."
Who was Bijan Ghaisar and why was he shot dead?
Bijan Ghaisar was born in Virginia in 1992 to Iranian immigrant parents. After finishing his graduation from Virginia Commonwealth University, he took up a job at his father’s accounting firm in the same city. He reportedly had no criminal records against him.
On November 17, 2017, Ghaisar was on his way to his parents’ in a jeep when a collision occurred with a Uber near George Washington Memorial Parkway, which reportedly struck his vehicle from behind. While the driver reported the incident to the cops, Ghaisar drove away, which is considered illegal in Virginia. The Park Police located Ghaisar’s vehicle and began the pursuit.
Footage of the entire incident was captured by the dashcam of a Fairfax County police, which showed Ghaisar stop at least three times when chased by the police. Each time Ghaisar’s vehicle stopped, the cops were seen approaching him with their guns drawn. While Ghaisar managed to evade the cops the first two times, the police pulled their SUV in front of his vehicle the third time. When Ghaisar’s vehicle moves further, the cops open fire. Ghaisar was placed in intensive care for 10 days and eventually passed away. Through investigations, it was revealed that Ghaisar was unarmed at the time of the shooting and posed no threat to the police who were in his pursuit.
The investigation was taken over by the FBI, three days into the shooting. However, the Justice Department remained shockingly silent about any development in the Ghaisar's case, and last November, it was announced that the two officers Vinyard and Amaya would not be charged in the shooting of the 25-year-old man. A year after his tragic death, Ghaidar’s family told CNN, “We have so much anger and we're fighting so hard and we have so much pain that we don't even have a minute to process or mourn.”
Descano took over the case in 2019 and justice for Ghaisar was served on October 15 with the indiction of the two officers involved in his shooting. "Making this more difficult was the US Department of Justice's refusal to produce witnesses for the benefit of our grand jury or our trial," Descano said. He further noted that his office had to count on the evidence gathered by the Fairfax County Police as Justice Department refused to corporate.
Meanwhile, Ghaisar’s family in response to the charges against the two officers said, “Our heavy hearts are a little lighter tonight knowing that the police officers who murdered our son and brother are closer to being held accountable for what they did.”