EDITORIAL: It’s been over 600 days since U.S. Park Police killed an unarmed man. We still have no answers.
Washington, August 8, 2019
Washington Post |
Six hundred and twenty-nine days. That’s how long it’s been since two U.S. Park Police officers opened fire on an unarmed 25-year-old accountant named Bijan Ghaisar, hitting him repeatedly in the head and killing him, after he was involved in a fender bender on the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Washington. Six hundred and twenty-nine days, and still not a word from the federal authorities who are supposedly investigating, not even an explanation of why it is taking them so long. The lack of accountability is stunning.
For nearly that entire time, since November 2017, the FBI has been — so we are told — conducting an investigation. For nearly that entire time, officials at the Park Police, the FBI and the Justice Department have treated requests for information — from Congress, from the Ghaisar family and from the media — with contempt.
For 629 days, a span almost as long as Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, there has been no resolution in the unwarranted death of a man who posed no apparent threat. No threat to himself. No threat to the public. And no threat to the Park Police officers who took his life.
Members of Congress, including Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), have demanded information from the FBI and the Park Police. They’ve asked about use-of-force and pursuit policies; why the officers’ names were withheld for more than a year; and how many agents and man-hours have been devoted to the case. The answers they have received would be charitably described as scant. “This is not how our American justice system ought to work,” Mr. Warner said recently.