Park Police officers indicted in death of unarmed Virginia man out on bail

Virginia News

FAIRFAX, Va. (WRIC/WJLA) — Two U.S. Park Police officers indicted Thursday on manslaughter charges in the 2017 shooting death of an unarmed Virginia motorist have been released on bail.

Both Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya were being held in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center after turning themselves in on Monday, Oct. 19.

They were both arraigned on Monday morning at 10 a.m. in the Fairfax County Courthouse. They were then released on bond on three conditions. Neither Vinyard nor Amaya are able to possess firearms or ammunition, exercise their police powers, or allowed to leave Virginia.

A status hearing date for both defendants has been set for Monday, November 23.

The charges against officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard come after years of agitation by the family of Bijan Ghaisar, 25, of McLean, a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital. Ghaisar was accused of leading officers on a stop-and-go chase outside Washington, capping nearly three years of inquiry into a case that caused an outcry over concerns of excessive force.

Some local and federal political figures also had criticized Park Police and the FBI for sitting on the case for two years without taking action or explaining events after widely publicized dashcam video of the chase and shooting raised doubts about the officers’ conduct.

Bijan Ghaisar
Two U.S. Park Police officers have been indicted on manslaughter charges in the 2017 shooting death of an unarmed motorist who led officers on a stop-and-go chase after an accident. (Courtesy: WJLA)

Ghaisar was fatally shot by the officers in November 2017 following a chase on the George Washington Parkway, outside the nation’s capital in northern Virginia, after he was involved in a minor accident.

Ghaisar’s family expressed gratitude that charges have been filed.

“Our heavy hearts are a little lighter tonight knowing that the police officers who murdered our son and brother are closer to being held accountable for what they did,” the family said in a statement. “Too many of the people who are sworn to protect and serve our communities commit heinous acts of violence and go unpunished. With these charges we are reminded that, at least here in Fairfax County, Officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard are not above the law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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