Adam Torres, charged with murder in the death of Springfield resident John Geer, was the first Fairfax County Police officer in the history of the department to be charged in such a death. Monday, Torres entered a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter, with a likely sentence of 12 months, most of that already served. He has been in jail for eight months.
Geer was a Springfield resident, a remodeling contractor and an involved father, always on the sidelines of his daughters’ sports games. He was unarmed, standing in the doorway of his own home with his hands raised at the time he was killed.
The police and Fairfax County refused to release any information on the case for more than a year, and only then after repeated court orders. Public outrage over Geer’s death was compounded by obfuscation and silence, the failure to communicate, and a lack of public accountability. Change is in the works, but there is much work to do.
There is still much to say about the death of John Geer and its aftermath.
But today, the wisdom of his two teenage daughters is well worth reading and sharing:
APRIL 18, 2016 STATEMENT BY THE DAUGHTERS OF JOHN GEER
“Justice is rarely a simple matter, and it would be easy to vent our anger, our outrage, our sorrow, and voice opposition to the plea bargain struck between Adam Torres and the Commonwealth. Nobody would question the rawness of our emotions and our response to it; we have lost a father, and there can be no substitute, no future moment of affection, no further opportunities to be close the man who should be present as our greatest supporter. Torres took that away from us, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County Police Department hid the truth of what happened to our dad for over a year, and there is no going back. ...
“Much like Dad’s murder has repercussions for his family and the community, locking Torres in a cell will have an effect on others. Whatever his faults, Torres’ wife and children did not murder our father, and it would be wrong to hurt them just to allay our own anger and pain. Robbing other children of time with their father would only make us complicit in another wrong. …
“Where Torres failed to show prudence and mercy, we will show him and his family both.
“As for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Police Department, we remain appalled by their actions in covering up the truth and putting Torres in the position to decide life and death given what they knew about his background. Until such time that the ad hoc committee’s recommendations are adopted and the policies of the FCPD are changed, we fear that these tragic events can occur again with different victims and different officers. We call upon the Board to immediately adopt and implement the Committee’s recommendations without delay for the good of the FCPD and the citizens of Fairfax County.
“No family should have to suffer the loss of a mother, a father, or a loved one under circumstances like ours.”