Park Police officers seek immunity from manslaughter charge

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Lawyers for two U.S. Park Police officers are hoping to persuade a federal judge their clients have immunity from local prosecutors’ efforts to charge them with manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed motorist in 2017.

A hearing is scheduled Monday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria in the case against officers Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya. The two shot and killed 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar of McLean after a stop-and-go chase on the George Washington Memorial Parkway outside the nation’s capital.

After a two-year investigation, federal prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges. A Fairfax County prosecutor then obtained indictments against the pair for involuntary manslaughter, but lawyers for Vinyard and Amaya say their status as federal officers gives them immunity from local prosecution.

State and local prosecutors pursuing the manslaughter charge say the immunity does not apply when the officers’ actions in pursuing and shooting Ghaisar were improper and extended beyond their reasonable roles as police officers.

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