Federal attorneys attempt to block Va. family’s request for 911 calls in police shooting

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Attorney’s office has moved to block a request by the family of a man fatally shot by U.S. Park Police along the George Washington Parkway in November.

As the FBI continues its investigation, the McLean, Virginia, man’s family is reacting to word they cannot access the 911 calls made from the scene of the shooting.

Four months after U.S. Park Police said Bijan Ghaisar, 25, led them on a brief chase into Fairfax County, his family’s request to hear the 911 audio calls into the Arlington Emergency Communication Center are being blocked by federal prosecutors.

Ghaisar’s family said he was shot three times by U.S. Park Police in a traffic stop that was recorded on Fairfax County police dash camera video and released to the public as officers assisted in the response.

Ghaisar died at a hospital in the days following the shooting.

In a statement, Ghaisar’s family said in part: “The Department’s threat that releasing this audio would somehow jeopardize its investigation is absurd, and whiffs of foot-dragging and attempts to whitewash yet another police-involved shooting.”

The denial letter from U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu cites the ongoing investigation and that the 911 calls “are a particular concern because they contain identifying information and statements from civilian witnesses who are relevant to this investigation.”

The FBI has not provided a timeline as to when it plans to release any findings in its investigation into Park Police officers’ actions.

The Department of Justice letter was addressed to the administrator of the Arlington-based Emergency Communications Center, where the family first made its request for 911 recordings. It was then obtained by the Ghaisar family’s attorney.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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