U.S. Park Police

Park Police Officers Knew Bijan Ghaisar Didn't Cause Crash, Evidence Reveals

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The U.S. Park Police Officers who shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar knew he didn't cause the crash they were pursuing him for, according to evidence obtained by News4, and an expert witness for the prosecution says the officers were never in danger.

In the weeks after Ghaisar's death in 2017, an accident report revealed the McLean accountant had left the scene of a crash on the George Washington Parkway after an Uber driver hit him from behind.

Newly obtained audio from the police radio communications that night revealed there was some confusion.

"Car 212: Southbound GW Parkway at Slaters Lane. I’ve got a motor vehicle hit and run a black jeep is still on the scene the striking vehicle continued on southbound it was a red Toyota," the Park Police dispatcher is heard saying.

About a minute later, the dispatcher radios new information to officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard.

"Station to car 212: Correction on all of this. The black jeep left the scene but he is not the striking vehicle. The red Toyota on the scene is the striking vehicle the black Jeep with the Maryland tag or with the tag BIJAN left the scene and that is all the information the striking vehicle could provide," the dispatcher said.

"Copy. We are southbound … with Bravo, India, Julia, Alfa, November. A black Jeep," Officer Amaya is heard saying.

The officers continue to pursue Ghaisar against the Park Police pursuit policy, which states officers can pursue if they have reason to believe a felony was committed.

Video from a Fairfax County Police Department dash camera shows the two Park Police officers twice jumped out with guns drawn along the GW Parkway when
Ghaisar briefly came to a stop.

When he stopped his Jeep at Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue, the officers got out with guns drawn again.

Attorneys for the officers claim Amaya was in front of the Jeep and was in danger of getting crushed and opened fire in self defense.

In addition to the dispatch audio, the FBI produced graphic sketches of the shooting based on a reenactment.

In one sketch Officer Amaya is depicted in green and fires the first shot. Officer Vinyard is in blue. Neither officer appears to be in the path of the Jeep.

An expert witness for the prosecution said neither officer was in danger of Ghaisar striking them.

The attorneys for both officers say they did what was "necessary and proper" to protect themselves and the public.

Both officers were indicted on state manslaughter charges. But they claim they cannot be prosecuted under the constitution's supremacy clause.

A federal judge will give an opinion on the case on Aug. 23.

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