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Officers: We gave 'chance after chance' before 2017 shooting

Bijan Ghaisar
Posted at 8:08 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 08:08:17-04

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Two U.S. Park Police officers say they gave “chance after chance” to a northern Virginia man in a stop-and-go police chase before firing 10 shots that killed him in 2017.

Documents made public Tuesday in a civil suit filed by the parents of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar provide the first real insight into the thought process of the two officers who shot and killed Ghaisar after a chase on the George Washington Parkway.

Dashcam video of the chase and shooting prompted outrage.

Ghaisar’s family and several lawmakers believe the officers acted with excessive force, but the officers say they reasonably feared for their lives after Ghaisar drove toward them.

A four-and-a-half-minute dashcam video shows a Jeep driven by Ghaisar stop twice during the chase.

In both instances, Park Police officers approached the vehicle with their guns drawn. Each time, Ghaisar drove off.

On the third stop, the officers once again approached the driver's side window of the vehicle with their weapons drawn. Once again, Ghaisar attempted to drive off, but five gunshots can be heard.

After a short pause, the vehicle started to move forward, when two additional sets of two gunshots can be heard, before the vehicle tipped over into a ditch, ending the video.

Ghaisar, who was shot three times in the head, was then transported to INOVA Hospital, where he died 10 days later.

Ghaisar was a first-generation American-born citizen. He graduated from VCU in 2015 and had been working as an accountant at his family's firm in McLean.

In November 2019, the Justice Department closed its investigation announcing it would not pursue charges against the U.S. Park Police officers.