Rep. Beyer’s Remarks At Rally Demanding Justice For Bijan Ghaisar
From the rally to demand transparency and accountability in the federal investigation of the November killing of Bijan Ghaisar, delivered at the Justice Department on May 19, 2018
Washington, May 21, 2018
Remarks as prepared:
Justice delayed is justice denied.
It has been six months since an unarmed Bijan Ghaisar was shot to death by Park Policemen.
It has been nearly six months since the FBI initiated its investigation into an incident that happened over the course of a few minutes. Yet we stand here today, knowing no more about that investigation.
We don’t know all that happened. We do not know what the Uber driver said when he called 911 – because the FBI has told Arlington not to release the tape.
We don’t know what the Park Police were thinking when they chased Mr. Ghaisar at normal speeds down the Parkway. What did they think they were up against?
We only have some idea about Bijan’s death because the Fairfax County police bravely, and appropriately, released the dash top camera video of the stops and the shots fired.
I have had a number of conversations with the FBI investigator in charge, and he has only promised that the investigation is almost complete. But it was almost complete in December, and in January – and now it is May.
All my life I have had enormous respect for the FBI, and trust in the FBI. It is beyond my understanding why this particular investigation has taken so long, especially in an environment when virtually every citizen who has been paying attention wants answers to these vital questions.
I have asked for a meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss the investigation timeline – but the meeting was refused. Justice, simple fairness, the rule of law in a democracy, all demand transparency in this tragic case – transparency that has been sadly and wrongly denied so far.
I have one request: please, Director Wray, finish the investigation and release the report. Let the facts be what the facts are. Nothing will bring back Bijan Ghaisar, but just perhaps we will learn why his family and the world lost this brilliant, charming, irrepressible young man.
It is my understanding, by the way, that the FBI’s investigation is limited to whether Bijan’s civil rights were violated. The review of the actions of the Park Police officers has perhaps not even begun. We seem a long way from a just resolution.
I recently met with the Department of Interior to ask how they were responding in the aftermath of Bijan’s death. With pressure from my office, late last year the National Park Service began developing a body-worn camera pilot program. I have since learned that that is being spread among all law enforcement departments in Interior. This is good news, and means that Interior’s 3,500 law enforcement could soon adopt body-worn cameras.
But I am concerned that Interior has no timeline for this pilot and that it has no long-term financial plan to support body camera adoption. At least the Department is genuinely engaging on moving into the 21st century in policing.
Unlike Interior, the FBI and the Department of Justice have not budged.
Enough is enough. I ask the FBI: do your job and finish your work on the Ghaisar case.