What is Fairfax County really hiding?
Aug 23, 2015
Dave Statter/ Statter 911
On Friday, we learned a Fairfax County Police Department captain secretly tapedthe Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney. It happened in November 2013 while the prosecutor was working on the John Geer case.
On Saturday, we discovered the official FCPD explanation about why this taping occurred is very different than the one written in a January 2015 email by the captain who actually did the recording. When contacted by The Washington Post’s Tom Jackman about this contradiction, FCPD said it stands by its statement.
This latest development sure doesn’t bode well for the concept of transparency called for by the Communications Committee of the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission (of which I’m a member).
But it isn’t only candor that’s, as usual, missing from a Fairfax County Police Department response to a reporter. I’m puzzled why there’s no strong statement from the police chief or other County leaders saying that secretly recording a prosecutor assigned to a fatal police shooting case is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Combine that silence with the fact that the captain will not be disciplined, makes you wonder if such actions were actually condoned by those in charge.
So, what new secrets about the John Geer case will we learn this coming week?
We’re just five days from the second anniversary of the Geer shooting and Tom Jackman’s latest articles remind us that this cover-up is far from over. Based on the continuing failure by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to understand even the basics of reputation management, I fully expect Jackman to get at least another year of scandals out of the Geer case. A good deal of credit for this must also go to the wonderful folks at the County Attorney’s Office.
Yes, the same group of people who assisted FCPD in obstructing the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s investigation into the Geer shooting are helping to further extend the cover-up. Their claim of attorney–client privilege on behalf of Fairfax County officials has allowed broad redactions of documents related to the decision making process in the Geer case.
And this brings us to the part that is so maddening about this ugly chapter in Fairfax County history. The reason it isn’t likely to end anytime soon is that almost the entire leadership that engineered the two-year long cover-up, is still on the job. They’re still giving the same advice and making the same ridiculous decisions that make a mockery of transparency and accountability.
Instead of finally coming clean about all the misdeeds and actually holding the leadership accountable, the inaction by the Board of Supervisors shows they’re quite content with this death by a thousand cuts. What this tells me is that they must be hiding an even bigger secret.