Beyer Urges Interior Department To Reconsider Appointment Of Former U.S. Park Police Chief To Lead Agency Task Force Charged With Reviewing DOI Law Enforcement Policies
Washington, July 13, 2021
Jul 13, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) today issued the following statement on the reported appointment of Robert MacLean, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Director of the Office of Law Enforcement and Security and former Chief of U.S. Park Police, to lead a newly created DOI task force charged with reviewing the Department’s law enforcement policies:
“Robert MacLean is the wrong person for this job, and I urge the Department of the Interior’s leadership to reconsider his appointment.
“Secretary Haaland’s efforts to strengthen community trust and ensure reform after last summer’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square are admirable and necessary. I worry that the task force will not be successful in achieving these ends if it is led by Director MacLean.
“I have not forgotten that Mr. MacLean refused for years to answer questions from community leaders and Members of Congress, including me, about the shooting of an unarmed man, Bijan Ghaisar, in my district by two officers who served under him. He refused to engage with the Ghaisar family, explain how the officers’ actions were justified under the U.S. Park Police’s use of force guidelines, or even reveal the officers’ names until he was forced to do so by court order.
“Given this track record, his appointment to head a task force charged with improving community trust, transparency, and policing oversight is inappropriate. The Department of the Interior and our community would be well served if the Secretary chose another person to lead this effort.”
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.