FBI defends length of investigation into police shooting of Fairfax Co.’s Bijan Ghaisar

The FBI said its 16-month investigation of the 2017 shooting by U.S. Park Police of unarmed motorist, Bijan Ghaisar, is complicated, but Sen. Chuck Grassley isn’t satisfied with that answer.

The FBI’s response came three months after Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, asked the bureau for an update of its investigation into the shooting of Ghaisar on Nov. 17, 2017.

After a fender bender, Ghaisar stopped his Jeep twice and drove away twice, as Park Police tried to pull him over on the George Washington Parkway.

After a third stop, at a stop sign in Fairfax County, Virginia’s Fort Hunt neighborhood, as his Jeep drifted forward, Ghaisar was shot by two U.S. Park Police officers

In the three-paragraph letter to Grassley, FBI Assistant Director Jill Tyson provided no new details of the incident, or timeline for when the investigation would be completed.

“This is a complicated case,” Tyson said. “Significant investigative and forensic actions were required and those activities continue.”

In March, on the Senate floor, Grassley said the Ghaisar family “has been looking for answers but they have only encountered silence.”

Tyson said the length of the investigation is “consistent with other investigations of a similar nature, general size, and complexity.”

Within hours, Grassley sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray saying, “The FBI has offered virtually no updates or information, this case must be resolved for the good of the Ghaisar family, and the public.”

Grassley’s letter, first published by The Washington Post. asks how many hours the FBI has spent and is spending on the Ghaisar investigation, and asks why the Bureau told a reporter the investigation was continuing before responding to Grassley — a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and its former chairman.

Ghaisar’s family has filed a $25 million lawsuit.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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