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Federal court claims jurisdiction over Park Police shooting that killed VCU graduate

Bijan Ghaisar
Posted at 11:28 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 12:37:49-04

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A judge has placed the prosecution of two U.S. Park Police officers accused of fatally shooting an unarmed motorist in Virginia under federal jurisdiction.

State and local prosecutors argued unsuccessfully at a hearing Friday in federal court that the involuntary manslaughter cases against officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard should remain in state court.

Park Police-Shooting
FILE - From left, Negeen Ghaisar, James Ghaisar, Kelly Ghaisar and Kouros Emami, family of Bijan Ghaisar walk outside federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Friday, March 6, 2020. A federal judge is set to hear arguments on whether Virginia prosecutors can bring manslaughter charges against two U.S. Park Police officers accused of fatally shooting unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar, in 2017. A hearing is scheduled Friday, April 23, 2021, in Alexandria. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat, File)

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano obtained indictments last year against officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard in the shooting death of Bijan Ghaisar.

The 25-year-old VCU graduate was shot in 2017 after a stop-and-go chase on a parkway near the nation's capital.

The Justice Department had opted against filing criminal charges.

The officers argue their status as federal officers gives them immunity from state prosecution.