RICHMOND, Va. -- By all accounts, Virginia Commonwealth University graduate Bijan Ghaisar was a sweetheart.
Peace-loving, gun-hating and game-playing, his friends and family have told reporters.
So why did he run from the Washington DC Park Police after leaving the scene of a fender-bender on Nov. 17?
It wasn’t as if he was racing wide open, like the guy involved in Wednesday’s near disaster in Arizona. It even looks like he was using his turn signals on he drove down George Washington Parkway.
But why did he keep driving off and squeezing past the police after they pulled him over twice.
And then, a third time . . .
Why did the park police officer open fire, fatally shooting the reportedly unarmed 25-year-old accountant multiple times in the head?
The dashcam video released Wednesday by the Fairfax County Police Department (one of their officers followed the chase) doesn’t answer any of those questions.
Warning: Some viewers may find this video disturbing
But that hasn’t stopped legions on social media from calling it “murder” or an “execution.”
Or those saying the driver endangered the officers - triggering a reasonable use-of-force.
Once again, the court of public opinion has convened. Never mind how many times we’ve gotten it wrong in the past - sometimes with disastrous and deadly results as we saw in Charlotte 16 months ago.
We’ve seen the video!! We know!
Yes, to me, it looks bad for the park police officer. My guess is he’ll be charged.
But we don’t know what the officer saw. We don’t know the toxicology report on the driver - or the officer, although the Washington Post reports the Ghaisar family attorney said Bijan did not have any alcohol in his system.
We know Bijan didn’t have a violent criminal past. He was just a guy with a handful of speeding tickets here in Richmond and in his hometown of McLean.
The fender bender was reportedly caused by Ghaisar stopping suddenly on the parkway, but the driver of the car that rear-ended him was cited, according to news reports. When Ghaisar drove away, the other driver and his passenger reported the incident and tag number.
There are only two things we can safely conclude from this video:
Mr. Ghaisar would likely be alive today if he hadn’t fled.
Or, if the officer hadn’t opened fire.
These are choices they made. We don’t know why.
The FBI is investigating.
But here’s the crucial thing this video should tell us:
Don’t run from the cops! Just don’t do it!
They don’t know who you are, why you’re running, what you have in your car, what you’ve just done.
Fleeing from police indicates a degree of desperation and menace. This makes everyone’s adrenaline flow.
And traffic stops are where lots of cops get shot or run over.
We should all know this. We’ve seen this how many times since the Rodney King beatdown 27 years ago?
Pull over, hands on the wheel. Act right and live to drive another day.
Oh, and maybe we could wait for that investigation to finish before we pound our gavels.