Screenshot shooting video USPP

Screenshot of dash cam video in 2017 shooting death involving U.S. Park Police officers.

A special grand jury in Fairfax County has indicted two U.S. Park Police officers in the 2017 shooting death of a McLean man in Fort Hunt following a stop-and-go pursuit.

U.S. Park Police officers Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya were indicted on one count each of manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm, Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano said.

“Bijan Ghaisar was an individual that was involved in a minor traffic accident and was shot and killed by law enforcement minutes later," Descano said. "Like so many others in our community, I was deeply disturbed by the images we saw on that cruiser video. That’s why I made sure that we took a clear and critical look at this case and made sure we did the right thing."

On Nov. 17, 2017, the two officers followed Ghaisar’s Jeep down George Washington Parkway after he'd been rear-ended by another vehicle in Old Town Alexandria and left the scene.

Dash cam video released by the Fairfax County Police Department showed that Ghaisar stopped his Jeep twice, but drove away twice.

When Ghaisar stopped a third time in the Fort Hunt neighborhood of Fairfax County, the two officers approached his Jeep with guns drawn.

The video shows officers firing nine times as Ghaisar’s Jeep inched forward. Ghaisar, 25, was not armed. He died 10 days later at the hospital.

The shooting caused an outcry in the community after Fairfax County police released the cruiser dash cam video. But federal officials declined to charge the officers, saying the two did nothing criminally wrong.

Descano said he convened a special grand jury several months ago to investigate the case.

"I wish this could have been done in a faster fashion. However, there is no shortcut to justice," he said. "This is a very complex and nuanced case." He said prosecutors reviewed more than 11,000 pieces of documentary evidence, chased down additional evidence, and the conducted in-person interviews.

"Making this more difficult was the U.S. Department of Justice’s refusal to produce witnesses for the benefit of our grand jury and trial," Descano said. "Without our ability to call those witnesses it rendered their investigation and the valuable evidence they collected unusable at trial. To move this case forward we had to rely purely on evidence collected by the [Fairfax County Police Department.]

In a statement to the Associated Press, Ghaisar's family said their "heavy hearts a little lighter" following the indictments.

“Too many of the people who are sworn to protect and serve our communities commit heinous acts of violence and go unpunished. With these charges we are reminded that, at least here in Fairfax County, Officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard are not above the law," the statement said.

Tags

(14) comments

Bigfoot

Not saying the indictments are right or wrong but the first half of this statement has me wondering how objective this person really was. The first half really does not jive with the 2nd half...............................Descano said. "Like so many others in our community, I was deeply disturbed by the images we saw on that cruiser video. That’s why I made sure that we took a clear and critical look at this case and made sure we did the right thing."

yourenotthebossofme

Damn shame. Another perversion of justice. The video shows nothing done wrong by the officers, and after an investigation even the feds didn't think they did anything wrong. As they say, a politically ambitions and/or pandering DA can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

tman

Executing an unarmed citizen over a traffic infraction.

yourenotthebossofme

That's not at all what the federal investigation found.

Soily

Grand jury indictments in Virginia don't need to be unanimous, just a majority of the grand jurors. They also never hear evidence that contradicts the state's case. When you have a region like ours with so many hateful Democrats who despise cops, it is not surprising that would indict no matter what the facts really are.

derek005

Soily, You are a liar! Most Democrats and Republicans support law enforcement. You old and nasty so-called Republicans just lie and lie like Trump. It doesn't matter what party you are affiliated with, but most support law enforcement and you know it. Quit all of your racist views/lies and grow the hell up! If you hate PWC, you can always move and don't let the door kick you in your rear.

m444ss

Wow! Such a vitriolic response. You certainly could have made your point without the ad hominem attack, not only on "Solly" but on all Republicans. For shame. SMH.

derek005

So you choose to forget what Soily said about Democrats. SMH.

m444ss

@ inside nova moderator: FYI - I inadvertently hit the report button instead of the add reply button. I did not mean to "report" derek005.

m444ss

So you essentially justify your bad behavior by your perceptions of others' behavior.

m444ss

Has the appearance of a political prosecution. In any case, the defendants should petition to have this case removed from state jurisdiction under 28 USC 1442 since they were federal officers and the act in question was committed in carrying out their federal duties.

fake_journalist

If the guy is behind the wheel of a 5000 lbs of steel that can go over a hundred miles and hour is he really unarmed? He almost ran over the two guys, no wonder he got shot. This is just democrats hating any and all law enforcement and they see this as a chance to destroy their lives just because they were doing their job.

Iwouldntgiveabean

The 2nd amendment does not cover vehicles, so your definition of “armed” is invalid.

That does not mean a person cant get charged with a litany of other offenses, but nothing in the “armed” realm would pertain.

Halyork

Maybe you should stop for the police and see what they want. He’d still be alive today.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.