Virginia prosecutors ask feds to review Park Police shooting

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — State and local prosecutors in Virginia are asking the Justice Department to reconsider its decision not to prosecute two U.S. Park Police officers who fatally shot a motorist after a stop-and-go chase in 2017.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano wrote a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Herring and Descano are pursuing involuntary manslaughter charges against against the officers, Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya, in the shooting death of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar after a chase on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. But the prosecution is facing numerous hurdles because federal prosecutors, after a two-year investigation, elected not to charge the pair.

A hearing is scheduled for August in federal court as to whether the officers have immunity from local prosecution under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In their letter, Herring and Descano say they hope the Biden administration will look at the facts and come to a different conclusion than the Trump administration about the officers’ criminal liability.

In an interview with WTOP, U.S. Park Police Chief Pamela Chief said she couldn’t comment on the case but said she appreciates “the patience of the community as we walk through this legal process.”

WTOP’s John Aaron contributed to this report.

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