WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) today issued the following statement after an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that it will not pursue action against the U.S. Park Police officers who shot and killed Fairfax County Resident Bijan Ghaisar in 2017:
“The Ghaisar family has experienced so much pain over the last two years, not just in coping with the loss of their beloved son and brother Bijan, but also in trying to understand what led to his death. Today’s announcement by the Department of Justice that it will not be pursuing federal civil rights criminal charges against the police officers who shot and killed an unarmed man will only add to this family’s heartbreak. The Department’s statement also adds to the long list of questions that remain unanswered years later, despite a two-year investigation.
“The Ghaisars deserve to understand what happened to Bijan. To that end, we will be formally requesting a briefing within the next 30 days from the Department of Justice to understand what went into the decision not to pursue charges in this case. We will continue to closely follow this case, including whether state or local charges are filed, or an internal affairs investigation is opened.”
Grassley first contacted the FBI in December of 2018 about its investigation into the fatal 2017 shooting of Ghaisar by the U.S. Park Police. The FBI responded in March with little information, provoking a follow-up letter from Grassley.
In June, Grassley and Warner decried the opaque and drawn-out nature of the review in letters to both the FBI and National Parks Service (NPS). The FBI provided a brief response in August, leaving many questions unanswered. In October, NPS provided a partial response, which prompted a follow-up letter from the Senators seeking more information.