Avalan Institute

The mission of Avalan Institute is to connect just and objective data, research, and strategy with productive organizations and agencies to impact change as it relates to social justice, with heightened focus on criminal justice, juvenile justice, and racial justice.

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Join Us and Help Bring Bijan’s Killers to Justice

Bijan Ghaisar (#WeAreBijan)

In the Washington D.C. area, Avalan Institute is supporting the Ghaisar family, whose 25-year-old son Bijan Ghaisar, was unjustly shot and killed by U.S. Park Police in November of 2017. Dashcam video (article and video lower left/be advised- violent content) released by the Fairfax County PD shows officers approaching Bijan’s car with guns drawn and shooting him 9 times even though he did not appear to pose a threat to anyone.

The Avalan Institute and Mothers Against Police Brutality have launched a grassroots effort demanding justice for Bijan Ghaisar, who was killed in 2017 by two out-of-control United States Park Police officers. The campaign encourages the public to file complaints against Lucas Vinyard and Alejandro Amaya, the officers who shot at Bijan nine times while he sat unarmed in the driver’s seat of his Jeep during a routine traffic stop in Fairfax Country. Vinyard and Amaya have remained on administrative duty with pay in the over 550 days since they shot and killed Bijan. 

To join this campaign and help us bring Bijan’s killers to justice, take a few outlined here to file a complaint.

Here’s how you can help:  

1. Go to the Park Police web page for filing a complaint
2. Scroll down to this line: "By emailing your complaint. 
Click here to email your complaint."
3. Click on the link. Fill in the contact information on the form.
4. For Subject of your email type: Remove Officers Who Killed Bijan Ghaisar.
5. In the Your Message box of the form, cut and paste the below message (see below).
6. Please email us at 
info@avalaninstitute.com and let us know you submitted a complaint so we can document the campaign.

Thanks so much for your help!

Complaint Text:

This complaint is filed against U.S. Park Police (USPP) Officers Alejandro Amaya and Lucas Vinyard for the unjust killing of an unarmed young man, Bijan Ghaisar, in November 2017. 

I am requesting that these two officers be removed from the force immediately. Officers Amaya and Vinyard’s continued employment with a federal law enforcement agency is a significant and direct threat to the public’s safety, and I would fear for my life if they approached me anywhere in or around Washington, D.C, Virginia or Maryland. 

On November 17, 2017, USPP Officers Alejandro Amaya (badge #40) and Lucas Vinyard (badge #642) aggressively pursued 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar until they cornered him at the intersection of Fort Hunt Road and Alexandria Avenue in Fairfax County and shot at him nine times — execution style — as he sat unarmed in his Jeep. 

These out-of-control officers pursued Bijan after he was reported to be the victim of a minor traffic accident. A minor traffic accident. Bijan was hit by another driver from behind. No one was injured.  Why was he pursued so aggressively? Why did they shoot at an unarmed man nine times?  

The shooting was captured on dashboard video camera by the Fairfax County Police Department. The video shows that when he was shot, Bijan was sitting in his car after a chase by Officers Amaya and Vinyard — who approach his vehicle with guns drawn and begin shooting through the closed window. 

What Officers Amaya and Vinyard did violated USPP use of force policy which states that force may only be used “when the officer has a reasonable belief . . . that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or to another person.”

These actions also violate federal law set forth in the Supreme Court decision Tennessee v. Garner (1985), which states that deadly force can only be used when “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

As the video footage shows, Bijan did not threaten anybody.

Officers Amaya and Vinyard shot at Bijan a total of nine times — hitting him four times in the head, and once in the wrist as he was trying to shield himself. He died 10 days later. 

U.S. Park Police have since refused to provide any information to the public, Bijan’s family, or Congress as to why Bijan was killed. 

The actions of officers Amaya and Vinyard, the killing of Bijan Ghaisar, and the silence of the Park Police make a mockery of the agency’s stated principles of “integrity, honor, and service.” I am writing to demand that you fire officers Amaya and Vinyard from the force immediately.