Park Police officer defends actions in fatal shooting

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A U.S. Park Police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed motorist after a chase on a northern Virginia parkway is defending his actions as self-defense.

Lawyers for Lucas Vinyard filed their first response Wednesday in federal court to the accusations against him. Vinyard is one of two officers being sued by the family of Bijan Ghaisar.

Ghaisar died after being shot multiple times by Vinyard and fellow officer Alejandro Amaya in November 2017. Dashcam video released by local police shows the 25-year-old Ghaisar leading officers on a chase on the George Washington Parkway. Officers opened fire after Ghaisar stopped and then tried maneuvering past officers with guns drawn.

The answer filed Wednesday by Vinyard’s lawyer says the officer acted in self-defense and Ghaisar’s death resulted from his own illegal actions.

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