Press Releases

Beyer Statement On A.G. Garland’s Reported Decision To Authorize DOJ Cooperation In Ghaisar Case

Rep. Don Beyer issued the following statement today after Attorney General Merrick Garland reportedly reversed the Department of Justice’s stance on cooperation with Virginia and Fairfax County prosecutors pursuing manslaughter charges against U.S. Park Police officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard for the 2017 killing of Bijan Ghaisar:

“Attorney General Merrick Garland made the right call by instructing the Justice Department to cooperate with prosecutors in the Ghaisar case.

“It is important that the Justice Department follow through and do all that is right and proper to ensure that justice is finally done. For years under the previous administration the Justice Department shrouded this case in an unacceptable level of opacity, stonewalling every attempt to establish the truth. Now we have reason to hope that a new era of accountability and transparency has arrived.

“I thank Attorney General Garland for his leadership, and Attorney General Herring and Commonwealth’s Attorney Descano for making the compelling argument that brought about this reversal. The Ghaisar family deserves justice, and this decision increases the chance that they will see it someday.”

Bijan Ghaisar, 25, was shot multiple times while unarmed after a police pursuit in Beyer’s Northern Virginia district in November of 2017. Ghaisar died days later from his wounds. Beyer worked continuously with local, state, and federal leaders in the years that followed seeking explanations for the killing from the U.S. Park Police, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Justice and justice for the Ghaisar family.

Ultimately the Department of Justice decided not to charge Amaya and Vinyard, and subsequently announced it would not cooperate with prosecutions of the officers by Virginia officials.

Attorney General Merrick Garland’s reported decision reversing that stance was made in response to a request by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano.