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Two US Park Police officers have been charged with manslaughter in the 2017 shooting of Bijan Ghaisar

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Two US Park Police officers have been indicted in the fatal 2017 shooting of 25-year-old unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in Fairfax County, Virginia, officials announced Thursday.

(CNN)Two US Park Police officers have been indicted in the fatal 2017 shooting of 25-year-old unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in Fairfax County, Virginia, officials announced Thursday.

The indictments come nearly a year after the Justice Department announced it would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against the officers, who have been identified as Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya.

In a statement, Ghaisar's family said their hearts were "a little lighter" that the officers are "closer to being held accountable for what they did. "

For some reason, Ghaisar left the scene of collision, which is illegal in Virginia, and the Park Police soon located his vehicle and began a pursuit.

But footage of the encounter was captured by the dashcam of a Fairfax County police officer who joined the pursuit in support of the Park Police.

According to that footage, which was released by Fairfax Police in January 2018, Ghaisar stopped at least three times.

Each time, the Park Police officers exited their own SUV and approached Ghaisar's vehicle with their guns drawn.

The first two stops, Ghaisar maneuvered his vehicle around the police officers and drove away, the footage shows.

At no time did the officers appear to be in danger of being hit by Ghaisar's vehicle.

At the third stop, the Park Police SUV pulls in front of Ghaisar's vehicle and the officers exit.

The nearly three years since have so far been a search for answers and justice for Ghaisar's family, who have filed a lawsuit against the federal government that's set to go to trial next month.

"Making this more difficult was the US Department of Justice's refusal to produce witnesses for the benefit of our grand jury or our trial," Descano said, adding that his case had to rely entirely on evidence compiled by Fairfax County police.

Descano said he believes the officers will attempt to move the case to federal court and that the federal government will try to have the case dismissed under the supremacy clause, which says that in the event of conflict between state and federal laws, the latter takes precedence.

Descano's office is prepared, he said, and his office requested the help of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in case there's any federal litigation.

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