Beyer blasts continuing silence surrounding Bijan Ghaisar shooting

Ghaisar vigil

Friends and family of Bijan Ghaisar are seen at a vigil for him in December. (From  the We Are Bijan page on Facebook)

Rep. Don Beyer on Saturday once again called for more information from investigators about the Nov. 17 shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police on Fort Hunt Road. 

Beyer spoke out on Twitter in a strongly worded that statement that said the continuing silence surrounding the case was “unacceptable.” 

Ghaisar, a resident of McLean, died from his injuries 10 days after being shot on the evening of the 17th. Ghaisar’s family maintains that he was unarmed, and neither the Park Police nor the FBI, who took over the investigation, have said why Ghaisar was shot or if he was armed.

Initial information released by the Park Police said that Ghaisar had been involved in a hit-and-run accident with another vehicle on the George Washington Parkway near Slater’s Lane in the City of Alexandria. Park Police officers spotted Ghaisar’s Jeep, and pursued him south on the Parkway and eventually to the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue in the Tauxemont neighborhood. 

No additional information about the hit-and-run collision in Alexandria, nor about the exact route of the chase or how it came to an end, has been given. The names of the officer or officers who shot Ghaisar have not been released, and authorities have not said how many times he was shot.

Ghaisar’s family has said he was shot three times in the head. 

Beyer’s tweet on Saturday linked to an editorial published earlier this week in The Washington Post that condemned the secrecy in the case, calling it “a mockery of the open society that distinguishes the United States from autocracies and dictatorships.”

An FBI spokeswoman did not respond to a request from earlier this week seeking an update on the case.

Two Fairfax County Police cars joined the pursuit of Ghaisar south of the Beltway near near Tulane Drive, but were not involved in the shooting. Dash cam video from the officers’ cruisers have been turned over to the FBI.

The department has referred questions about the case to the FBI. A spokeswoman on Thursday said the department could not say the route the chase took after their officers joined in.

Earlier this month Fairfax Police Chief Edwin Roessler called for his officers’ videos to be released a soon as possible, saying that one had captured the shooting on tape.

“When the in-car video is no longer needed for officer interviews,” Roessler said during a Dec. 4 press conference, “and will not interfere with the investigation, I strongly recommend it be released to the community. The in-car video should not be held for the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation, which could potentially take many months, or more. It’s important for the information it contains to be shared with the Ghaisar family, and our community, so we can all start to understand the facts of this officer-involved shooting by the United States Park Police.”

Beyer, whose eight congressional district covers most of the Richmond Highway area, appears to be the only congressman who has spoken out about the case. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has written to the FBI demanding more information, as has State Sen. Scott Surovell, who lives near the site of the shooting.