FBI blasted for failure to answer basic questions about Ghaisar shooting

photoBijan Ghaisar (Family photo via Facebook)

Virginia and D.C. Congressional representatives are blasting the FBI for its failure to answer a series of basic questions regarding its 16-month investigation into the shooting death of Bijan Ghaisar, the 25-year-old McLean accountant who was shot by U.S. Park Police in November 2017.

“It boggles our minds that the FBI took three months to send such a brief letter which says essentially nothing to the former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is not an acceptable way for public servants to treat Members of Congress or the people we represent, especially when we are over sixteen months without receiving the most basic details about what happened to Bijan Ghaisar,” said Reps. Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton (all D-Va.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)

They were responding to a terse FBI response to a series of basic questions posed by former Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley about its probe of Ghaisar’s death.

“The Justice Department and the FBI’s refusal to provide transparency and accountability about a fatal police shooting is shocking. Every day that goes without answers in this case further erodes the trust that justice can be done. Bijan’s family deserves better,” they said. “We thank Senator Grassley for his efforts to establish the truth. We will not let this matter rest until we find out what happened.”

Grassley and others have prodded the FBI, which is supposed to be investigating the shooting. On March 15, three months after his latest inquiry, Grassley received a three-paragraph letter from FBI Assistant Director Jill C. Tyson saying the investigation was “ongoing” and that the FBI was therefore limited in what it could say.

Tyson said the investigation was complex and that the time involved was “consistent with other investigations of a similar nature, general size, and complexity.”

Ghaisar was shot as he sat inside his Jeep Grand Cherokee in the Fort Hunt area of Fairfax County, on November 17, 2017, following a chase down the G.W. Parkway. His family said he was unarmed. Park Police say Ghaisar’s Jeep had been involved in a traffic accident on the Parkway in Alexandria and that Ghaisar left the scene. The pursuit ended at Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue where Ghaisar was shot. He died three days later.

U.S. Park Police officers do not have body or dashboard cameras. The shooting was captured on video by Fairfax County Police, who had trailed the chase.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.