The sister of a man shot to death by U.S. Park Police said the indictment of two officers Thursday brings her family one step closer to justice, though the case is nowhere near over.
Bijan Ghaisar, 25, got in a fender bender and allegedly left the scene of the accident in November 2017. A Fairfax County police dash cam captured U.S. Park Police officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard following Bijan during a stop-and-go car chase that began on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria.
The two officers fired 10 shots, killing him.
“No one who has a badge and a gun should be immune from prosecution,” said his sister, Negeen Ghaisar. “They should be held at a higher standard even than a private citizen.”
A special grand jury indicted Amaya and Vinyard separately on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm, punishable by up to 15 years if convicted.
“We are one step closer to justice, definitely,” Ghaisar said. “This was a step forward yesterday. A huge step forward.”
Federal prosecutors said after a nearly two-year investigation they would not pursue charges.
Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced the county’s indictments Thursday.
“I feel very grateful for the things that have happened in the last 24 hours, but I still have the same mixed emotions every day,” Ghaisar said. “I feel anger. I feel grief. I feel sadness.”
A bench warrant has been issued for Amaya and Vinyard. It’s unclear if or when they plan to surrender.
U.S. Park Police officials said they are reviewing the charges.
“We know this is nowhere near over,” Ghaisar said, “but we just have to continue pushing forward.”