Politics & Government

Parents Of McLean Man Shot By Park Police Back Body Cameras Bill

Parents of Park Police shooting victim Bijan Ghaisar voiced support for requiring body cameras on federal officers.

WASHINGTON, DC—In-car video footage of the Nov. 17 Park Police shooting has become a crucial piece of evidence for the FBI's investigation. It was, however, a Fairfax County Police cruiser that recorded the shooting, not a Park Police car.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting representative for DC, will introduce a bill requiring body cameras on federal police officers and dashboard cameras in marked police cars. On Thursday, she met and discussed the bill with James and Kelly Ghaisar, parents of Bijan Ghaisar, the 25-year-old killed in the Park Police shooting. The delegate plans to meet with Park Police Chief Robert MacLean as well.

"The gratitude they expressed for my bill to equip uniformed federal police officers with body-worn and dashboard cameras shows parents selflessly moving, without bitterness, beyond their own continuing grief to embrace the greater transparency that could help prevent future tragedies and ensure accountability for Americans like themselves and their family," Norton said.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr.released the shooting video to the public last week. The video shows police pull Ghaisar's car on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and approach the car with weapons drawn. He drove away two times before the chase ended at Alexandria Avenue and Fort Hunt Road, where the two officers fired nine shots as Ghaisar attempts to drive away. The last set of gunshots stopped Ghaisar, and his car nearly flipped over into a ditch and came to rest against a stop sign.

Ghaisar, who his family says was unarmed, died 10 days after the shooting from injuries relating to gunshots to the head. The family doubled down on their calls for an explanation for the shooting after the video's release. Speaking at a Friday, Jan. 26 rally, Bijan's sister Negeen Ghaisar demanded an explanation for the nine shots fired and the names of the officers. The two officers that fired their weapons have been on administrative leave since the shooting but were not publicly identified.

The FBI has not announced any updates on the investigation. A Park Police report obtained by The Washington Post revealed police originally were pursuing Ghaisar's car after an Uber driver rear-ended him on Slaters Lane in Alexandria. The Uber driver reported that Ghaisar's car suddenly stopped in the left lane when his car was hit. Under Virginia law, it's a class 5 felony if there are any injuries or $1,000 in damages or more. Less than $1,000 in damages is a misdemeanor. According to The Post, Park Police will begin a pursuit in the case of a felony.

The police report indicates the vehicles clocked in at 59 miles per hour during the pursuit, but Park Police wouldn't comment on the video and why why officers shot Ghaisar.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton meets with James and Kelly Ghaisar. Image courtesy office of Eleanor Holmes Norton

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