Family names officers in amended wrongful death lawsuit

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- The family of a northern Virginia man shot to death by U.S. Park Police in 2017 has identified the two officers in an amended wrongful-death lawsuit.

Bijan Ghaiser was shot on Nov. 17, 2017, after a police chase on the George Washington Parkway.

In a federal lawsuit filed in August, Ghaiser's family described the shooting as "egregious, senseless and unlawful." The family identified the officers as Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard in a court filing Friday.

A Park Police spokesman declined to comment. Both officers have been on paid administrative duties since the shooting.

Vinyard has worked for the Park Police since 2007, while Amaya joined the force in 2009.

Neither officer could be reached for comment Friday. Vinyard did not immediately respond to a message left at his home. Amaya did not immediately respond to a message left on his cellphone. The names of their attorneys were not yet listed in court documents.

The lawsuit says the chase began after Ghaiser, 25, was involved in a minor traffic accident. It says Ghaiser drove away from the scene and was pursued by Park Police. They say he stopped three times, and each time, officers jumped from their cruiser and pointed their guns at him.

The lawsuit says that on the third stop, officers blocked his path with their patrol car, jumped out and fired nine shots into Ghaisar's Jeep.

Dashcam video released by Fairfax County police shows that during the final stop, officers with guns drawn approach the car at the driver side door. When the car starts to move again, five gunshots are heard. The car starts to drift into a ditch, and two more sets of two gunshots are heard.

The FBI said recently that the shooting is a complex case and its 16-month investigation is not unusual. The agency's comments came in a March 15 letter to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who has questioned why the FBI is taking so long to investigate the shooting.



 
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