WASHINGTON — Dashcam video released by Fairfax County police Wednesday appears to show officers firing as many as nine shots into an SUV that had eluded police twice on the George Washington Parkway.
Bijan Ghaisar, 25, of McLean, died nearly two weeks after that traffic stop in November from head injuries. He was shot three times by U.S. Park Police. Authorities have said that Ghaisar fled after being involved in a crash on the George Washington Parkway. The FBI is now investigating the shooting.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler noted that the video “does not provide all the answers,” but said that he released the video in an effort at transparency.
Park Police Chief Robert MacLean met with the Ghaisar family after the shooting to commit to an impartial investigation. In a statement, MacLean said that “I also recognize the desire for more information and details surrounding the investigation.”
Police around the country have come under fire over how and when officers use deadly force following a string of high-profile shootings of unarmed drivers. Ghaisar was unarmed.
The video shows police twice stopping the Jeep driven by Ghaisar and each time he drives off as officers approach his vehicle. During the third attempt to stop Ghaisar, officers can be seen with their guns drawn and pointed at the Jeep’s drivers side window.
Several shots can be heard as the vehicle once again starts to move. Then a pause, followed by several more shots and another pause. Two more shots ring out as the wheels on the Jeep once again begin moving.
The Jeep tips over into a ditch near a stop sign at the corner of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue as the video ends.
Other vehicles could be seen driving by the stop as the shots rang out in a residential neighborhood not far from the parkway.
It was not clear at what point Ghaisar was struck.
Roessler has said that his agency played only a backup role in the chase.
Roessler in December had urged the FBI to release the video as soon as possible. But the FBI declined to as they were still investigating.
In a statement, Roy Austin, Jr. and Thomas Connolly, lawyers for the Ghaisar family, said that Ghaisar was threatened by “over-aggressive and out-of-control” police officers.
“No one was even close to being in harm’s way until a pair of U.S. Park Police officers repeatedly shot Bijan at close range as he sat, unarmed, in his Jeep on a residential street,” the statement said. They said that the family is grateful to Roessler for releasing the video.
Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, supports the chief’s decision to release the video.
“The family and friends of Bijan Ghaisar, as well as the residents of Fairfax County, deserve to know what happened,” Bulova said in the statement.
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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