The family of Bijan Ghaisar, who was killed by U.S. Park Police officers in November 2017, gathered in front of the U.S. Department of the Interior in Northwest D.C. Monday morning to continue their calls for justice and to express outrage that the former chief of the park police, Robert MacLean, was just promoted.
Monday was MacLean’s first scheduled day at his new job as director of the Interior Department’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security. He recently stepped down from the park police after 28 years.
“We just think that was a terrible wrong signal and really an unconscionable act,” said Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, who has advocated for the family.
Ghaisar’s mother, Kelly Ghaisar, said she thinks MacLean should be fired instead of promoted.
“He’s being promoted with the case still unsolved,” Ghaisar said.
Ghaisar, 25, was shot by two Park Police officers in the Fort Hunt area of Fairfax County, Virginia, following a police chase on the George Washington Parkway during which the officers said they repeatedly tried to pull Ghaisar over without success.
MacLean faced scrutiny for not communicating with Ghaisar’s family and refusing to release any further details about why the officers opened fire.
The park police have not directly addressed the family’s concerns regarding MacLean’s promotion. But in a statement issued to WTOP last month, the agency called him a “28-year veteran of the U.S. Park Police with a stellar record protecting our most symbolic monuments and memorials and the visitors to them.”
The FBI is leading the investigation of the Ghaisar case and has not yet determined whether the shooting was justified, or whether the officers will face charges.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Beyer said. “It has been 22 months and it’s still total silence from the FBI and the Department of Justice, and we’re being led to believe that it could be another year or two before the Department of Justice makes a decision.”
The officers involved, who remain on administrative duty, were identified as Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard. Their names were released only as part of a wrongful-death lawsuit that was filed by Ghaisar’s family against the federal government.
“We can all agree that it should not be taking this long,” Kelly Ghaisar said.
The family is arranging a vigil at the Lincoln Memorial on Nov. 17, the second anniversary of the shooting.