Bijan Ghaisar’s mother responds to body camera video of teenager shot, killed by Park Police

The mother of Bijan Ghaisar, the unarmed Virginia man shot and killed by U.S. Park Police almost six years ago, responded to the recently released video of a teenager in a stolen car fatally shot by Park Police last month.

“I wish we had the body camera images from Bijan’s case,” Kelly Ghaisar said.

While body camera programs have been used for years by many police departments, Park Police only recently equipped all officers with the cameras after announcing an initial rollout in 2021.

Fairfax County police officers involved in Bijan Ghaisar’s chase back in 2017 were wearing body cameras, while Park Police were not.

Kelly Ghaisar said the policy changes that led to the camera programs are a “positive improvement.”

After Bijan Ghaisar’s death, lawmakers and the Ghaisar family pushed for the Department of the Interior, under which the Park Police falls, to equip all officers with body cameras. Bijan Ghaisar’s shooting was not cited as the reason for rolling out a body camera program.

Last October, the Interior Department announced “transparent and accountable policing policies,” including requiring all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.

Kelly Ghaisar said that she is glad policies appeared to have changed and allow information on an incident to come out faster than in her son’s case.

“I hope that they’ve learned from that, and the fact that they’re actually talking about it and saying that there will be an investigation, that is a huge improvement,” Kelly Ghaisar said.

Lawmakers, including D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Virginia Reps. Don Beyer and Jennifer Wexton, put pressure on law enforcement to release information on what happened on Nov. 17, 2017, along the George Washington Parkway, accusing Park Police of delaying “in every conceivable way” efforts to hold the two Park Police officers who shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar accountable.

In April 2022, the Virginia Attorney General decided to end the pursuit of prosecution against the two U.S. Park Police officers who shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar; and before that in October 2021, a federal court tossed out involuntary manslaughter charges against them.

The Ghaisar family’s civil lawsuit, however, continues.

Kelly Ghaisar said she is sorry for Dalaneo Martin family’s loss, and she believes the video from the body cameras will play a critical role in the investigation into his death last March.

The Justice Department said it is opening a civil rights investigation into Martin’s shooting.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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