Officers who shot Bijan Ghaisar knew he wasn't fender bender suspect, new evidence shows
WASHINGTON - Newly released evidence in the shooting death of Bijan Ghaisar reveals that U.S. Park Police officers were told, before their pursuit, that Ghaisar was not the suspect in a fender bender that triggered the high-profile police chase that turned fatal.
Ghaisar's Jeep was hit from behind by an Uber driver before the police pursuit in 2017.
The officers charged with shooting and killing Ghaisar are trying to get the case dismissed, but prosecutors are working to keep that from happening.
A 322-page report by an expert witness reveals new details on Ghaisar's death at Alexandria Avenue and Fort Hunt Road.
Previously undisclosed audio from police radio transmissions make clear that the dispatcher told Officeres Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya that Ghaisar was not the suspect they were looking for in a minor traffic accident.
"Correction on all of this. The black Jeep left the scene, but he is not the striking vehicle. The red Toyota on the scene is the striking vehicle," the dispatcher says in the audio.
One of the officers then acknowledges the correction.
The dispatcher then reminds the officers that Ghaisar's Jeep is not at fault, and his vehicle is the one that was hit.
"Copy; he's not stopping," one of the officers says.
Police stopped Ghaisar twice after that exchange, but he drove off.
The third time, officers pursued Ghaisar's Jeep with guns drawn and then fired multiple shots as his car slowly started inching away.
An expert witness for the prosecution claims Ghasiar, who was unarmed, was not a threat to the officers.
But both attorney for the defense believe the officers did what was "necessary and proper" to protect themselves.
The officers now face involuntary manslaughter charges.
A federal judge in Alexandria will soon consider both sides in court at 10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 23.
What that judge decides will determine if the officers will face a trial.