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Beyer seeking Congressional hearing on Bijan Ghaisar shooting

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Washington, February 6, 2019 | comments
Covering the Corridor

Rep. Don Beyer said Saturday that his office is looking into a holding a Congressional hearing on the case of Bijan Ghaisar, who was shot by U.S. Park Police officers on Fort Hunt Road in November 2017 and died 10 days later.

Speaking at the Mount Vernon Town Hall meeting at Mount Vernon High School, Beyer drew applause from the crowd during his remarks about the Ghaisar case.

“I’m pressing for a Congressional hearing on the Bijan Ghaisar killing,” Beyer said. “It’s been almost 15 months since Park Police officers, in a seeming fit of road rage, fired nine bullets into Bijan’s car and three into his head despite his having broken no laws and presented no public danger.”

A spokesman for Beyer’s office said plans for the hearing are still in the early stages, and details such as which committee will handle it are still being decided.

Beyer, whose 8th district includes the area where Ghaisar was shot, has been among the most outspoken critics of the pace of the FBI investigation into the shooting as well as the lack of transparency by both the agency and the U.S. Park Police. FBI Director Christopher Wray has previously declined to meet with Beyer face-to-face to discuss the investigation, and details such as the names of the officers who shot Ghaisar and their reasoning for opening fire are still unknown.

Ghaisar, 25, was an accountant who lived in McLean who had no previous run-ins with law enforcement. On the night of Nov. 17, 2017, he was involved in a fender-bender accident on the George Washington Parkway north of Old Town Alexandria. Ghaisar did not stop exchange information with the other driver, who then called the police.

Little was know about what happened next until January 2018, when the Fairfax County Police released in-car video of the chase taken from one of their cruisers. While the FCPD participated in the pursuit, none of their officers fired any shots.

The video show Park Police officers pursuing Ghaisar after spotting going south on the Parkway just over the Fairfax County border. Ghaisar did not pull over immediate and continued south on the Parkway for a short distance before stopping. When officers approached his vehicle and attempted to open the driver’s side door, Ghaiar drove around the police’s SUV and continued south on the Parkway.

Ghaiar stopped again after turning right at West Boulevard Drive, but again drove off after officers approached the driver’s side door. Ghaisar continued down Alexandria Avenue and stopped at Fort Hunt Road, where the Park Police SUV pulled in front of him again. As Ghaisar slowly started to pull around the officers’ SUV again, the two officers fired a total of nine shots in 25 seconds.

Ghaisar died from his wounds on November 27, 2017.

The FBI has remained mum on the investigation since then, although they did shut down Fort Hunt Road for a number of hours on June 21, 2018 — seven months after the shooting — to conduct a search of the area. It’s unclear what they were looking for, or if they had previously searched the area.

Ghaisar’s family has insisted that he was unarmed, and the Fairfax County Police confirmed that in October of last year after releasing to documents about their investigation to The Washington Post.

At least one other member of Congress has joined Beyer in the search for answers about the Ghaisar case. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Wray in December 2017, according to the Post.

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