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1 year after Bijan Ghaisar death, family says facts not enough: ‘We want to know why’

One year after the shooting death of Bijan Ghaisar, his family gathered outside the Justice Department, looking for an update on the investigation into the shooting by U.S. Park Police.

WASHINGTON — For the family of a man who was shot by two U.S. Park Police officers, the wait for answers and accountability has stretched past the anniversary of his last breath.

“My brother died a year ago today,” said Negeen Ghaisar, as she stood outside the U.S. Justice Department with family members Tuesday morning, holding signs. The signs read, “Remember Bijan Ghaisar,” and “One year, no justice.”

The family says it has no received no information from the Justice Department about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of her brother’s shooting.

“I just didn’t feel comfortable sitting at home, doing nothing, on the day Bij died last year,” Ghaisar told reporters. “So, we’re here, just making sure people remember as they go into work in this building today.”

The family said investigators have given no indication of whether they intend to charge the two U.S. Park Police officers, who were next to Ghaisar’s Jeep, when he was shot nine times, at the intersection of Alexandria Avenue and Fort Hunt Road, in Fairfax County.

Ghaisar had led police down George Washington Parkway, after his vehicle had been struck from behind in a fender-bender near Slater’s Lane, in Alexandria.

“The decision whether or not to indict the officers on a civil rights violation is completely up to the Department of Justice,” said Negeen Ghaisar. “Answers about the facts of what happened are not enough at this point — we want to know why it happened.”

Prosecutors in the District of Columbia are investigating the shooting, to alleviate conflicts of interest in the Virginia court system.

Ghaisar said her family is demanding justification of each shot that was fired at her brother: “For every single one of the nine shots fired. Not the first, not the second shot. Particularly those last two shots, right at his driver’s side window, when he was presumably unconscious, going into a ditch.”

Before Ghaisar was shot, he had been stopped by police on the parkway twice, but had driven away each time.

In its $25-million wrongful death lawsuit, filed in federal court in August, the Ghaisar family said Bijan was unarmed, and had not posed any threats to the pursuing officers.

“As far as I see, there’s absolutely no justification on earth for killing my brother,” she said.


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