McLEAN, Va. – Police on Wednesday released a dashboard video showing the fatal shooting of a driver at the end of a car chase on a northern Virginia highway.
Lawyers for the driver's family say provides clear evidence that police overreacted by drawing and firing their weapons without cause.
Bijan Ghaisar, 25, of McLean, died after the Nov. 17 chase, in which he was shot by U.S. Park Police. Authorities say Ghaisar fled after being involved in a crash on the George Washington Parkway. The FBI is now investigating the shooting.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler said Wednesday he released the video Wednesday in an effort at transparency.
The four-minute nighttime video shows a chase beginning in the parkway, then turning into a residential neighborhood. It shows the car driven by Ghaisar stopping twice during the chase, and officers approaching the car with guns drawn. In both cases, Ghaisar drives off.
At the third and 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 video does not provide all the answers," Roessler said in a statement Wednesday accompanying the video's release. "However, we should all have confidence in the FBI's investigation of this matter as I know it will be thorough, objective and professional."
The Ghaisar family's attorneys, Roy Austin and Thomas Connolly, issued a statement Wednesday after the video was released, saying it shows "the senseless killing of a young man at the hands of those charged with protecting public safety.
"Bijan Ghaisar was repeatedly threatened by over-aggressive and out-of-control law enforcement officers, after he drove away from a minor traffic incident in which he was the victim and in which there was little property damage and no known injuries," the lawyers said. "No one was even close to being in harm's way until a pair of U.S. Park Police officers repeatedly shot Bijan at close range as he sat, unarmed, in his Jeep on a residential street."
Roessler said in December that his department, which played a backup role in the chase, had in-car video of the shooting. He urged the FBI at the time to release video as soon as possible. But he was reluctant to immediately release the video himself out of deference to the FBI's investigation.
FBI spokeswoman Kadia Koroma declined to comment Wednesday on the release of the video or on the investigation itself.
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report from Washington.