Hereâ€™s a question for Attorney General William Barr: Why has the FBI, which falls under your purview, sat for nearly 16 months on the unwarranted killing of an unarmed young accountant shot to death by U.S. Park police officers just outside Washington?
The accountant was Bijan Ghaisar, who exercised bad judgment, but committed no serious crime, when he drove off after his car was rear-ended in a fender bender on the George Washington Parkway in November 2017. In a sequence then caught on a police cruiserâ€™s dash-cam video, he twice drove away after being pulled over by two Park Police officers who approached his vehicle with guns drawn. When he seemed to try to do so a third time, they fired nine shots into his car; he died a few days later.
Three days after the shooting, the FBI took over the investigation. Since then, not a jot of information has been made public, for month after month after month. Among the basic questions that have gone unanswered, and to which Barr should seek answers, are:
- Why have the identities of the Park Police officers not been disclosed?
- Why did they violate standard police practice, first by giving chase following a minor accident and second by drawing their guns when approaching Ghaisarâ€™s car?
- Why did they open fire on Ghaisar, who was unarmed and, judging from video evidence, posed no threat?
Given the existence of clear dash-cam video, recorded by a Fairfax County, Virginia, police car that tailed the Park police, why would the FBI go nearly 16 months without presenting any investigative conclusions either to the Ghaisar family or to the public?
Why has FBI Director Christopher Wray ignored a letter sent last December by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, seeking information on the status of the investigation? Why have FBI officials disregarded a half-dozen follow-up attempts by Grassleyâ€™s staff?
The FBIâ€™s conduct in the Ghaisar investigation is a case study in stonewalling, arrogance and nonaccountability. Barr should act immediately to address it.