ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A former federal prosecutor is questioning the actions of the U.S Park Police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar.
Scott Fredericksen - who has years of experience prosecuting cases in the Eastern District of Virginia, the Special Counsel's Office as well as the U.S Attorney’s Office in the District - said the fatal police shooting of the 25-year-old accountant from McLean after he left the scene of a fender-bender in Alexandria was “disturbing.”
“From what we’ve seen, and we haven't heard all the facts, it just doesn't seem like this young man had to die,” Fredericksen told FOX 5.
After watching the video, following its release on Wednesday by the Fairfax County Police Department, Fredericksen said he was puzzled by the officers’ actions.
"There did not appear to be any threat to the police officers and certainly not to the public,” Fredericksen said. “There was no imminent danger to the police officers. When the car stops for the third time, the police are not in jeopardy, it doesn't seem, and the car is not trying to run them over and when it pulls away it is at a slow rate of speed away from them and looking like it is going to go into a ditch.”
After weeks of request from FOX 5, U.S. Park Police turned over their policy on use of force on Wednesday. On page three it states, “Officers shall not fire at a moving vehicle nor fire from a moving vehicle except when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury.”
FOX 5 learned that a police radio transmission revealed U.S. Park Police officers were pursuing Ghaisar because he had just left the scene of a crash on Nov. 17. According to a police report, an Uber driver rear-ended Ghaisar’s Jeep. There were no injuries in the crash and the Uber driver was cited for failing to maintain proper control.
Despite that information, the first time Ghaisar came to a stop on the George Washington Parkway, the U.S. Park Police officers jumped out of their vehicle with their guns drawn.
"Now we don't know what the officers would say, obviously they are dealing with someone who is trying to escape, but that is, given that it is just a fender-bender involved, fairly aggressive action to take,” Fredericksen said.
U.S. Park Police fired a total nine shots, hitting Ghaisar five times. Four of those shots struck Ghaisar in the left side of his head and he was hit in his wrist once. Ghaisar’s family said he was unarmed.
On Wednesday, U.S. Park Police Chief Robert MacLaean released a statement that said in part, "While respecting the integrity of the investigation, I also recognize the desire for more information and details surrounding the investigation and the death of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar.”
The statement said MacLean met with Ghaisar's family in the days following the incident and "shared his commitment to a fair and impartial investigation."
The FBI is leading the investigation into the shooting of Ghaisar.