The family of Bijan Ghaisar, shot dead by two U.S. Park Police officers as he drove his Jeep Grand Cherokee away from them in 2017, agreed to settle a lawsuit against the agency for $5 million. The agreement, which must be approved by a federal judge, probably will bring to an end the Ghaisars’ more than five-year quest for justice, and add them to a long line of families whose loved ones were killed by police and who settled for financial compensation after the government refused to bring criminal cases. Federal prosecutors declined to charge the officers. When a Virginia prosecutor charged them, a federal judge dismissed the case. When the prosecutor appealed, the newly elected Virginia attorney general halted it.
All that remained was the Ghaisars’ civil suit against the Park Police for excessive force by officers Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya. They realized no jury would ever see the video of the shootings, or hear from the two officers. Terrence Clark, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said: “We are grateful to have reached a mutual resolution to end the litigation and we hope that closing this long chapter brings some comfort to the family.” Ghaisar’s family held multiple protests outside the Justice Department, the Interior Department, and the police station where the officers worked, and held annual vigils at the Lincoln Memorial. The officers claimed that they believed Ghaisar was going to run over Amaya, though video recorded by a Fairfax County, Va., police in-car camera does not show that, and an FBI analysis of all 10 shots showed that Amaya was only in danger when he placed himself in the path of the slow-moving Jeep.