Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) today called on federal investigators to improve transparency surrounding their review of the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police in 2017. In letters to the FBI and National Park Service, the senators are requesting an update of the investigation as well as the U.S. Park Police’s policies regarding the use of force.

In the letter to the FBI, the senators expressed frustration that previous inquiries have been ignored. The lack of transparency and cooperation have forced Ghaisar’s family to seek information via Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain basic details about a shooting that occurred 19 months ago.

“The FBI has failed to provide information on this investigation, which has been ongoing since November 2017, to us, our colleagues, or the public.  The FBI’s slow pace and lack of transparency are weakening the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” the senators wrote to the FBI.

Grassley first sought information on the FBI’s investigation in December of 2018. The FBI responded without providing much information in March. Grassley again sought an update in March, but the FBI has failed to respond.

In the letter to the National Park Service, the senators pushed for additional transparency and cooperation to promote and improve the trust and accountability necessary for law enforcement to effectively serve their communities.

“As you know, our communities are safer when law enforcement and the people they protect can trust and hold each other accountable. Officer-involved shootings and the use of excessive force, which have led to criminal investigations and prosecutions, demonstrate that there is still work to do in order to strengthen police-community relations,’ the senators wrote to the National Park Service.

In January 2018, Warner, along with Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Representative Don Beyer (D-Va.), pushed the FBI for an update on the status of the FBI’s investigation into the Ghaisar shooting. That April, the FBI responded that it would not discuss an active investigation. Warner has also pressed the National Park Service regarding the circumstances under which U.S. Park Police officers engaged with Mr. Ghaisar, and has met with leaders from both the National Park Service and the FBI to encourage full transparency regarding this incident.

Grassley and Warner’s letter to the FBI is available HERE. Their letter to the National Park Service is available HERE.