Interior Department seeks to fire US Park Police officers in fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar

Four years after two U.S. Park Police officers shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar and a month after they were cleared of the charges, the officers have been informed that the Interior Department is seeking to terminate their employment.

Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya received paperwork from the National Park Service, proposing their removal from federal service and they had 30 days to respond.

U.S. Park Police Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Kenneth Spencer told WTOP that the officers were not afforded their due process with an internal investigation, which is spelled out in their labor agreement with the Interior Department and the National Park Service. Instead, he said the agencies’ actions to remove the two officers “bypassed our union completely.”

“They have not been afforded any interviews or investigation internally, and they were just proposed termination without any due process whatsoever,” Spencer said.

In an earlier statement, Spencer accused the two agencies of “turning a blind eye on decades of settled labor law should be alarming to every union in the country.” The union will be coordinating its response to the officers’ firing with its members.

The Washington Post first reported the Interior Department’s attempt to terminate the two officers.

Last month, a federal court tossed out involuntary manslaughter charges against Vinyard and Amaya last month, saying they are entitled to immunity. The two are accused in the death of the unarmed McLean, Virginia, man following a pursuit along the George Washington Parkway in 2017.

Since the shooting, both officers have been on either paid administrative duty or paid leave.

A statement on a Facebook page associated with the Ghaisar family states that they strongly support this “modest measure of accountability that will remove these dangerous officers from the the United States Park Police.”

WTOP has reached out to the Ghaisar family and the Interior Department for comment.

WTOP’s Alicia Abelson contributed to this story. 


Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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