By Tom Jackman August 21
An e-mail sent by the Fairfax County police captain who secretly taped a conversation with a Fairfax prosecutor handling the police shooting of John Geer in 2013 appears to provide a different explanation for why the taping happened. The transcript of the tape shows that Capt. Darrin Day argued about the law with the chief deputy Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney and was concerned that releasing prior internal affairs files of Officer Adam Torres “could be prejudicial to the officer.”
The tape was provided to the lawyers for Geer’s family in February as part of their civil suit against Fairfax police Chief Edwin C. Roessler for the August 29, 2013, killing of Geer. Though Fairfax prosecutors were unable to obtain the internal affairs files for Torres, a Fairfax judge ordered them to be produced in the civil case. The police then had to notify Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh that Day, as an internal affairs captain, had surreptitiously taped a six-minute conversation with chief deputy prosecutor Casey M. Lingan in November 2013 where the police first indicated they would not release the Torres files.
The police continued to refuse to provide the files to the prosecutor, though they had done so in prior police shootings, leading to a year-long delay which was broken by the disclosures in the civil case. A grand jury indicted Torres this week for second-degree murder.
A police spokesman said on Thursday after speaking with Day that he had taped the conversation with Lingan “to replace the taking of handwritten notes with the recorder.” But an e-mail Day sent to internal affairs in January, and obtained by The Post, shows that Day “started the recording shortly after our call started because I did not like the way it was going.”
The spokesman, Capt. Edward O’Carroll, said Friday that he stood by his previous explanation of Day’s reason for taping and that no ill will toward the prosecutors was intended. He said no internal discipline was sought against Day because the taping was not a violation of department policy, though the police have since instituted a standard operating procedure discouraging the practice. (It is legal under Virginia law.)
In February, as revelations about the Fairfax County police shooting death of John Geer were unfolding, a Fairfax police commander had to walk over to the county prosecutor’s office and make an embarrassing admission:
The police had secretly tape-recorded a phone conversation between one of their internal affairs commanders and the chief deputy county prosecutor, as prosecutors were seeking the internal affairs files of the shooter, Officer Adam D. Torres.
When Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh learned of the secret taping by police, he was irate. “In over thirty years as a prosecutor,” he wrote in a February e-mail, “I have never seen an instance of a police officer recording a prosecutor in this county.”
The covert taping of Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey M. Lingan was revealed this week in the newly unsealed case file of former chief deputy county attorney Cynthia L. Tianti, who is pursuing a grievance against the county for allegedly demoting her over her handling of the Geer case. County supervisors said Tianti had not advised them of key developments in the Geer case, including her office’s advice to police not to hand over the Torres files, which helped create a nearly two-year delay before Torres’s indictment this week.
At the county’s request, much of Tianti’s grievance file was redacted by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Daniel E. Ortiz under a claim of attorney-client privilege. Entire pages of Tianti’s 26-page grievance are obscured, and there are no almost no communications between Tianti and the county supervisors that would shed light on what the county’s leaders were told about the Geer case by their attorneys. The grievance does state that County Executive Edward L. Long Jr. had arranged for Tianti, a 26-year employee, to move to the Loudoun County attorney’s office for one year, but she apparently declined.
A judge denied bond for ex-Fairfax officer Adam D. Torres on Wednesday, who is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Springfield man in 2013. (WUSA9)
Since the revelation of the police taping in February, Fairfax police Capt. Edward O’Carroll said, the police have created a new standard operating procedure that says, “Surreptitious audio recording of individuals should be avoided unless the purpose directly relates to allegations of misconduct against employees necessitating that this type of recording occur.” The procedure notes that it “shall apply in particular but not exclusive to, disputes with other law enforcement officers, or officers of the court.”
The taping, by Capt. Darrin Day, occurred in November 2013, more than two months into the criminal investigation by Fairfax homicide detectives into the killing of Geer. Previously released records showed that Morrogh was already aware of possible anger problems with Torres because he had erupted at one of Morrogh’s assistants in the courthouse in March 2013.
Morrogh sought any prior internal affairs files on Torres, to include the courthouse incident, as factors to consider in whether to charge Torres with a crime. He said police have provided these files in previous officer-involved shootings without hesi¬ta¬tion.
On Nov. 4, 2013, Lingan called internal affairs to arrange a pickup of the Torres files. But instead, Day informed him that the county attorney’s office had advised the police not to release them. “IA [Internal Affairs] history is protected,” Day said, according to a transcript prepared for the Geer lawsuit. “Statements to IA should never be considered for a prosecution.”
This was news to the prosecutors. “If you won’t turn it over,” Lingan told Day, “we will turn it over to the feds.”
Ten days later, a meeting was held with Morrogh, Lingan, Fairfax Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Day, Tianti and Deputy County Attorney Karen L. Gibbons. According to Morrogh’s e-mail, Day asked in the meeting whether Morrogh planned to use the internal affairs files against Torres. Morrogh said yes. “His reply was, ‘Then you’re not getting it,’ ” Morrogh said of Day.
“It is alarming,” Morrogh wrote, “that he is the one who secretly tape-recorded a prosecutor. . . . It is even more concerning that Captain Day was secretly recording a prosecutor on the Geer case before the meeting even occurred. I think some explanation is warranted.”
In 2013, Roessler and the police stood fast by their claim that prosecutors were not entitled to an officer’s prior internal affairs cases, and in January 2014, Morrogh did “turn it over to the feds,” referring the case to the U.S. attorney in Alexandria. Prosecutors there subpoenaed the internal affairs files and obtained them, the Justice Department has said, but then federal officials took no action.
But the Justice Department also issued a letter saying it did not object to Fairfax releasing information about the Geer case. So in December 2014, Fairfax Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows ordered the police to provide their investigative file to the Geer family in their civil suit. And in February, he ordered the police to turn over to the Geers the internal affairs files on Torres. When that happened, internal affairs Maj. Mike Kline was forced to go to Morrogh’s office and reveal the existence of Day’s secret tape, because it was being provided to the Geer lawyers.
After Morrogh sent his e-mail, a police official visited him and said the surreptitious taping had not happened before and would not happen again. It was solely Day’s decision, Morrogh was told. “I wanted to know why” Day had done it, Morrogh said, “and never really got an answer.”
O’Carroll, a former internal affairs commander, said the taping by Day was “not a function the department endorses, and now it’s prohibited by policy.” He said no one instructed Day to tape Lingan, and “we have full faith in the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.” He said the recording was “frankly not necessary or appropriate” and that Roessler was not aware of it.
“The captain’s intention in recording this conversation was in no way conducted with ill will towards the Deputy Commonwealth, but rather was simply done to replace the taking of handwritten notes with the recorder,” O’Carroll said in an e-mail.
It was not clear, because of the heavy redactions, why Morrogh’s e-mail was included in Tianti’s grievance. “Raw nerve!” County Attorney David P. Bobzien wrote when Tianti forwarded it to him.
Morrogh later tried to arrange a meeting with Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) to discuss the police and county attorney’s roadblock, but Bulova said the county attorneys never told her that. Tianti’s grievance states that The Washington Post wrote a “story about the failure of the County Attorney’s Office to inform the Chairman or the Board, which was not true.”
But nearly all of the five pages surrounding that claim by Tianti are redacted, at Fairfax’s request.
Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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.
Aug 11, 2015
Dave Statter, Statter 911
What is it about transparency Fairfax County (VA) doesn’t understand? Less than two weeks after Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and the leadership of the Fairfax County Police Department admitted that the image of the department was greatly impacted by the withholding of information in the John Geer case, the County hides even more information.
Instead of simply telling us the officer who shot and killed Geer, Adam Torres, was recently (we think) fired, County officials waited, once again, until Washington Post reporter Tom Jackman asked about it first. Even after acknowledging Torres is gone, the department still refuses to tell anyone when his termination occurred.
Wake up Fairfax County! A County employee’s hiring and departure date is not a state secret. It impacts nothing. Hiding behind “it’s a personnel matter” borders on the comical and further undermines your credibility. (Learn more sbout the lack of transparency in the firing of Officer Adam Torres in a report yesterday by WUSA9.com’s Peggy Fox.)
The report of the Communications Committee (read report here) of the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission, was embraced by Ms. Bulova and FCPD Deputy Chief Tom Ryan at the July 27 Commission hearing. The report highlights the concept of adopting “a predisposition to disclose” information (read Jackman article about the report here). Why can’t anyone making these decisions see that failing to provide the termination date for Torres is just more of the decades old “predisposition towithhold” information policy long favored by Fairfax County?
(Note: You can watch the July 27 hearing here. Deputy Chief Ryan’s comments are at 2:15:27 and Sharon Bulova’s remarks are at 2:24:08.)
After all of the self-inflicted wounds over the last two-years, it’s telling that it didn’t dawn on anyone in charge that the Fairfax County Police Department should have released, as soon as it occurred, the news that the employment of the man at the center of this controversy was terminated. This was an opportunity to show it’s really a new day at FCPD instead of the leadership digging a deeper hole for themselves and the department.
Before I was appointed to this Commission, I was very vocal about my dissatisfaction with the top officials who allowed a cover-up to occur in the Geer case. In case this story is new to you, it became extremely obvious in January of this year that those in charge withheld key information from the public that was provided very early on by the officers who witnessed the shooting and those assigned to investigate John Geer’s August 29, 2013 death. I remain extremely proud that those officers and detectives did their jobs so honorably. They made clear from the start that this was a bad shooting by one of their fellow officers. At the same time, I’m ashamed by what occurred at the top levels of the government where I live .
Despite my own doubts, I thought it important to have an open mind as I worked on the Commission alongside some of these same leaders. The goal has been to change backwards policies and adopt a culture of transparency that a growing number in law enforcement believe is key to 21st Century policing.
Over the last few weeks, it has been extremely disappointing to witness this same leadership making a number of decisions that seem to show it’s business as usual in Fairfax County. In addition to the mishandling of the Torres firing, these include:Failing to openly address the Alex Horton complaint until after his opinion piece appeared in The Washington Post (more here); Denying a request by one of the Commission’s committees to see files on long-closed police involved shooting cases; Denying a FOIA request by the father of David Masters to see the investigative file on that long-closed case.
What all of this tells me is the culture change needed to restore trust in FCPD is not a priority for those in charge. Instead, it sounds a lot like a reaffirmation of the “what you don’t know can’t hurt me” culture that has been a guiding principle in Fairfax County for way too long.
These words are in the Communications Committee report (full disclosure – I helped write this as a member of the committee):
No longer can they (Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Police Department) just pay lip service to the idea of transparency. Real change is needed – now.
The evidence, so far, indicates the status quo is just fine and that there’s a lack of understanding on the part of Fairfax County leaders about what “real change” means. The citizens of Fairfax County and the men and women who protect us deserve better.
By Tim Peterson
Lt. Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr.
#Citizens can now explore summaries of Fairfax County police officer-involved shootings that occurred over the last 10 years.
#On Aug. 11, Police Chief Col. Edwin Roessler released a web page of information through Fairfax County’s website, including brief descriptions of what an officer-involved shooting is, what happens when an officer uses deadly force, the kind of training officers have and a hyperlinked table of shooting summaries organized by year and local police station. The brief summaries do not include names of police officers involved in the shootings or of the subjects of the shootings.
#The chart covers the years 2005-2015 and lists 37 total incidents. Of those, five subjects weren’t injured, 16 were wounded and 16 died.
#Clicking on the year at the top of the chart brings up a new page with summaries of the shootings for that year. Clicking on the total number of shootings across the bottom of the chart opens a map showing where they took place. According to the chart, there have been no officer-related shootings in 2015.
#Roessler stated his intent as: “Providing information regarding the Fairfax County Police Department’s officer-involved shootings will help the community understand what officers encounter and the criminal and administrative investigative processes related to these events.”
#The shooting case charts include the Fairfax County Police Department case number, date of the incident, the location, number of officers involved, decision by the Commonwealth’s attorney as to any criminal liability for the officers, the outcome of any internal affairs investigation, the health status of the subject involved (wounded, deceased or no injury), a case summary and any related news releases.
#The full release from the chief and embedded database are available online at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/inside-fcpd/063015ois.htm.
More like this story
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia on Wednesday forwarded to the Chair of the Fairfax Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission its recommendations regarding reforms the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) should make to restore civilian authority over and ensure public trust in law enforcement.
“The perception among many Fairfax County community members is that their police department operates by its own rules, and the official wall of silence erected after the shooting of John Geer only served to reinforce this perception,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. “Ensuring public trust in the FCPD will require a shift in the department’s culture and mindset. That’s why today we submitted our recommendations to the Fairfax Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission – recommendations that are based in the concepts and values of constitutional policing and respect for the sanctity of human life. These concepts and values should be in the DNA of all law enforcement personnel, and accountability and transparency should be hallmarks of FCPD operations and community relationships.”
The Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission’s Use of Force Subcommittee will meet tonight, August 12, at7:00 PMat the Fairfax County Government Center (Room 232). The full Commission will meet again onAugust 17, and a public hearing is scheduled for September 14.
Gastañaga said that the ACLU of Virginia is submitting its formal comments now so that they can be considered as the subcommittees are formulating their recommendations to the full Commission.
“While there is no silver bullet to ensuring a safe and effective police force, the adoption of the ACLU of Virginia’s recommendations will provide an important step in restoring the public’s trust in their police department. Adoption of these recommendations will also help make the department a model for what policing in a democratic society should look like.”
WASHINGTON — The case of a sleeping Iraq War veteran awakened in an Alexandria apartment by Fairfax County police officers pointing their guns at him, has led to a meeting with the county’s police chief.
The caller was concerned that a squatter might be living inside.
In fact, Alex Horton had permission to stay in the unit while repairs were being made to his own apartment.
A police investigation found the officers did not break any rules or laws, and Horton agrees with those findings.
“How they’re written and how appropriate they are to use … that remains in contest,” he tells WTOP.
He says the officers’ response in his case was too aggressive, and in an op-ed in The Washington Post, he called the experience “terrifying.” He also described how the tactics used by police reminded him of those he had used as an infantryman in Iraq.
Horton says he had a productive meeting on Tuesday with Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler.
“We see eye-to-eye philosophically about how police need to rethink their use of force, and rethink their restraint,” Horton said. “(Roessler) used the phrase ‘on point’ to describe some of my observations about how police need to slow down and use restraint.”
Horton hopes changes will be made by the chief that will actually lead to changes in the way the county’s police officers work.
“Are the guys and gals on the ground going to be willing to change their culture? That remains to be seen,” he said.
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By Editorial Board August 15
FAIRFAX COUNTY’S police force, which has become notorious for withholding information in cases of police-involved shootings — even going so far as failing to report incidents for the FBI’s use in compiling national statistics — has made a gesture toward openness. The department, with 1,372 officers the state’s biggest local police agency, has issued a breakdown of every police-involved shooting, and its aftermath, within its 407-square-mile borders over the past decade — a useful step in the direction of transparency.
The data are at once familiar and novel. Cases made notorious in the headlines — Salvatore J. Culosi, the unarmed optometrist, shot to death in 2006; David A. Masters, the unarmed former Green Beret, shot to death in 2009; John Geer, the unarmed father of two, shot to death in his own doorway in 2013 — are reprised. So is the melee in 2006 in which a gunman wielding an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons attacked a police station in Chantilly, fatally wounding a detective and another officer before he was killed in the crossfire.
In all, starting in 2005, the department details 37 instances of police-involved shootings, and their toll: 16 civilians killed, and another 16 wounded.
In 13 of those instances, the civilians on whom the police opened fire were unarmed, although in most cases they were driving vehicles in a way that the officer or officers at the scene perceived as dangerous or threatening.
The good news, we suppose, is that it appears police-involved shootings in the county have been occurring with somewhat less frequency. After several years of six or seven such incidents annually, there has been no year with more than three since 2008 — and none so far this year.
The data and, especially, the descriptions of individual incidents are a reminder of the hazards of police work and the enormous pressure under which officers are sometimes forced to make highly charged, split-second decisions.
They are also a reminder of how reluctant Fairfax, like many other states and localities, has been to find fault with officers who open fire in the line of duty.
Out of the 37 shootings examined in the past decade, only five have been adjudged to constitute a violation of Fairfax police rules and regulations. In no instance in the past decade, nor in the several decades before that, have county prosecutors found a police officer criminally liable for having opened fire.
That long precedent may be upset in the coming weeks if a special grand juryconvened to review the shooting of Geer hands up an indictment of Adam D. Torres, the officer who shot Geer as he stood at the threshold of his home in Springfield two years ago. Mr. Torres was fired from the police force late last month.
It’s worth noting that the decision to call a grand jury to examine Mr. Torres’s actions in the Geer case came about only after months of pressure by a judge, a U.S. senator, local elected officials and the media. Hopefully the police in Fairfax are starting to get the message that openness is a critical part of their compact with the community their serve.
By Nick Iannelli | @NickWTOPAugust 18, 2015 2:11 pm
FAIRFAX STATION, Va. — Nearly two years after his son was killed by a Fairfax County police officer, Don Geer says his family has taken a step toward closure now that the officer who pulled the trigger has been indicted.
On Monday, Adam Torres was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of John Geer, 46.
Police were called to John Geer’s Springfield town house for a domestic dispute in August 2013. Geer had placed a gun on the ground, but he was not armed at the time.
“At this point now, I feel justice is being served,” Don Geer told WTOP.
But it has been an emotionally painful, arduous process for the Geer family. They waited months to hear even basic details of the police investigation into their son’s shooting.
“It’s just terrible to spend all this time laying in bed at night wondering what took place,” said Don Geer.
“There’s just thousands of things that go through your mind of what could have happened.”
Torres claims he fired one shot after seeing Geer reach down toward his waist. Witnesses, including other officers and Don Geer, have disagreed with that account saying his arms remained above his shoulders.
Torres left the Fairfax Co. police department July 31, and he is being held without bond on the murder charge.
This is the first time in the history of Fairfax County that an officer has been prosecuted for a shooting that happened while on duty.
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© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.
Adam Torres will face trial Dec. 14 for shooting of Springfield man.
By CHRIS GAUDET (Patch Staff)
A former Fairfax County policeman fainted in court Wednesday and was taken to a hospital after a judge denied him bail, according to media reports.
Adam Torres, 31, has been charged with murder in the 2013 shooting death of John Geer, 46, during a standoff at his home in Springfield. Torres was in court Wednesday for an arraignment and bond hearing; the judge set the trial date for Dec. 14, according to WJLA-TV Channel 7.
Torres collapsed to the floor, and the courtroom was cleared as a medic treated him, radio station WTOP reported. The hearing resumed after Torres was taken to the hospital.
The Fairfax County Police Department fired Torres on July 31, after the department drew heavy criticism for the length of time it took to investigate the shooting, among other factors. A special grand jury indicted Torres on Monday, and Torres turned himself in Monday evening, according to media reports.
By Max Smith | @amaxsmithAugust 18, 2015 7:08 pm
Former Fairfax County police officer, Adam Torres, was charged with the second-degree murder of John Geer on Monday, August 17, 2015, following an indictment returned by a special grand jury convened in the case. (Fairfax...
FAIRFAX, Va. — The former Fairfax County Police officer accused of murdering John Geer about two years ago is due in court Wednesday, and the county’s top prosecutor says Adam Torres is not being offered a plea deal.
In an interview with WTOP, Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh says he expects the case to go to trial.
Torres shot and killed Geer in August 2013 after responding to a domestic dispute at Geer’s home.
Geer had been talking to other officers in the doorway when he was shot, and officers cited safety concerns as a reason not to immediately enter the home after the shooting.
While records obtained through a civil case show Torres told investigators that he saw Geer’s hands flinch toward his waist, other officers and witnesses disputed that.
Torres was indicted Monday by a special grand jury Morrogh convened to hear the evidence and witnesses in the case. Torres turned himself in Monday evening, and has been held without bond.
He could request bond at the 10 a.m. hearing Wednesday.
Morrogh blames the long delay in the case on county police initially refusing to turn over additional information about Torres, on the advice of the county attorney’s office.
“We were denied access to certain evidence, which turned out to be pretty critical evidence, by the way,” he says.
Morrogh says he believes that the board of supervisors would have had that information turned over if they had been fully informed about the situation.
“It took way too long. This case should have been resolved by now, and typically it would have been,” Morrogh says.
He declined to be more specific about which particular evidence he believes was so critical.
“You want to have all the facts before you make a decision. It affects what level of charge you’re going to charge, whether or not you’re going to charge, and in point of fact I didn’t have all the facts until about February,” he says.
The special grand jury was convened this summer. After meeting for a week in July, it handed up the indictment late on its sixth day in session.
Before prosecutors left the grand jury room, and opened up the secrecy, Morrogh says the lead detective on the case called John Geer’s father Don Geer and Geer’s longtime partner Maura Harrington to let them know about the indictment.
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Originally published August 18, 2015 at 7:06 am Updated August 18, 2015 at 6:27 am
The Associated Press
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A former Fairfax County police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man as he stood inside his front door with his hands up in 2013 was indicted Monday on a second-degree murder charge, authorities said.
A special grand jury convened by Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh returned the indictment against Adam Torres, 32, in the shooting death of John Geer of Springfield.
Torres fatally shot Geer, 46, in August 2013 after a report of a domestic dispute. Witnesses, including other officers, said Geer was unarmed and had his hands up when he was shot. Torres told investigators he thought Geer might have a weapon hidden in his waist.
Michael Lieberman, an attorney for Geer’s family, said the indictment is “a substantial step toward justice for John Geer. A Fairfax County jury will now be able to determine what’s fair and just, which is all the family wanted.”
Lieberman said he considered the charge appropriate for what he called an intentional shooting.
Police said Torres, who had been an officer since 2006, was fired on July 31. Police said Monday night that Torres turned himself in and is being held without bond in the county jail.
His lawyer did not return a call for comment.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said in a statement, “We have great respect for the Special Grand Jury process, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County, and the criminal justice system as this matter proceeds.”
The chief’s statement continued: “The loss of life is tragic for all. We express our sympathy to the Geer family, support to our great community and the men and women of the Fairfax County Police Department.”
The charges came two years after the shooting, and Fairfax County faced intense criticism during that time for a lack of transparency about its investigation. U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, questioned county officials about their actions.
At one point, Morrogh asked federal authorities to investigate the case, because the county’s own lawyers advised police against turning over records sought by Morrogh. Police did not identify Torres as the shooter until after the family filed a civil lawsuit, and a judge ordered the county to turn over portions of its investigative files. Those documents showed that months before the Geer shooting, Torres had an angry “meltdown” during an incident at the county courthouse in which Torres cursed at a prosecutor and stormed out.
In April, the county agreed to settle the civil lawsuit for nearly $3 million, the largest in Virginia history in connection with a police shooting.