In Fairfax, VA, a Different, No-Less-Scary Police Shooting

Neil Macdonald, CBC News, February 18, 2015

White privilege didn’t protect John Geer.

That’s not to say he didn’t have it. As a middle-class kitchen designer living in the pleasant Washington suburb of Fairfax, Va., he had nothing whatsoever in common with the impoverished black men killed by police in Missouri and Brooklyn last year.

Those deaths triggered riots, marches and demonstrations across America, and interventions by the White House.

But Geer, pierced 18 months ago by a police bullet as he stood inside the screen door of his own home, his hands raised, begging not to be shot, simply disappeared into the emotional mixing bowl of American news and political priorities.

That should not have happened. The killing of John Geer is probably the clearest and most compelling example of what amounts to police impunity in recent American history.

JohnGeer

He committed no crime the day he was killed. Even the officer who shot him acknowledges that. There was no struggle. The details are not murky.

But because no one was marching in the streets on behalf of John Geer, because he was absent from national headlines, the system was able to make his outrageous death go away by the simple expedient of doing nothing and refusing to discuss it.

Here are the facts:

In August 2013, Geer’s common law wife, who was breaking up with him and moving out, called police to report he was angrily throwing her possessions onto his front lawn.

Asked whether Geer had weapons, the woman answered yes, but they were legally owned and secured. No, he hadn’t been drinking.

Two squad cars–four officers–initially responded. Geer, on seeing them, retreated into his home, refusing to answer questions.

A few minutes later, Officer Rodney Barnes, a trained police negotiator, arrived, and as the four other policemen stood close behind him with weapons drawn, he began trying to coax John Geer out onto the porch.

Barnes would later recall that Geer was polite, but reluctant to leave his home, saying repeatedly he was frightened of being killed.

He said “I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” the negotiator told investigators a few months later. “I don’t want to get shot.”

‘I know I can get shot’

Barnes asked Geer if he owned a pistol. Geer said yes, and fetched it. He held it up, holstered, for Barnes to see and set it aside, raising his hands again. He offered to let Barnes come into the house and retrieve the weapon.

He asked for permission to scratch his nose, Barnes said, and did it slowly, then raised his hands again. He asked to reach into his pocket for his phone; Barnes asked him not to, and he obeyed.

“He said ‘I know if I reach down or drop my hands I can get shot,” Barnes told detectives later. “I said, hey, nobody’s going to shoot you . . .”

But Geer pointed to one nearby officer in particular: Adam Torres, who kept raising his Sig Sauer pistol from the “ready” position (pointed at Geer’s legs) to aim at Geer’s chest.

Please ask him not to point his gun at me, Geer begged Barnes. Geer even offered to come out and be handcuffed voluntarily if Torres and the other patrolmen would agree to move “way back.”

Then he asked to scratch his nose again. Barnes consented. And Torres fired.

Geer, grabbing his wound, screamed in pain and stepped back, slamming his door.

“And I’m like, who the fuck shot?” Barnes told detectives later. “I kinda got a little pissed.”

Torres acknowledged it had been him, and began muttering how he was sorry, and that his wrist was hurting. Then, unbidden, he told Barnes how he’d had a fight over the phone with his wife just before arriving on the scene.

Everyone else is wrong

Asked by Barnes why he’d fired, Torres said Geer had dropped his hands to his waist suddenly, that he appeared to be going for a weapon.

“I said I didn’t see that,” said Barnes later. “You know, and I never took my eye off him (Geer).”

The other three officers who’d been present told investigators the same thing. So did two civilian witnesses.

But prosecutors and police commanders and county officials buried the case.

Fairfax County’s top prosecutor declared a conflict of interest and referred the shooting to federal authorities.

The police department stonewalled reporters.

Federal investigators did investigate, and have reported to the U.S. attorney in Virginia, who has done nothing.

And all this was done under a cloak of secrecy, until, earlier this month, a judge finally ordered disclosure of nearly 11,000 documents, containing interviews with nearly everyone involved.

Torres, it turns out, stuck to his story that the other four officers were wrong.

Does he regret having shot Geer? “I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.”

Why did he tell Barnes immediately afterward he was sorry? He was concerned about having upset Barnes by shooting, he said.

Why did he talk about his wrist hurting? He doesn’t remember. Why did he immediately say he’d just had a fight with his wife? “I don’t know why.”

Under the radar

The judge’s disclosure order has created a bizarre situation: Nearly all the available evidence, including audio of the witness statements, is now available on the Fairfax County website.

According to those official documents, the shooter–a cop with significant anger issues (he once screamed and cursed at prosecutors in open court)–is contradicted by four fellow officers and two civilian witnesses. That sort of rank-breaking is practically unheard of.

And yet there has been no judicial action, and almost no public uproar. Most politicians have remained silent. Those who have marched against police shootings in the past have been largely uninterested.

A protest at Fairfax police headquarters drew a couple of dozen people. Only the Washington Post has taken a serious interest in the case.

But the killing of John Geer should frighten everyone. It is the best example yet that while police often target minorities disproportionately, their basic and overriding demand is total and unquestioning submission to their authority.

Resist, however peacefully and even in your own home, and heaven help you, no matter what your skin colour.

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  • “No public uproar”

    That’s because the victim isn’t black and it’s not election season. So, why should the NYT care? The only reason the WaPo cares is because it’s in NoVa.

    • Oil Can Harry

      I’ll have you know that Officer Adam Torres was a natural conservative Christian with traditional Hispanic family values. He was defending himself against a white privileged male who was trying to send him onto the school-to prison pipeline.

      You and the rest of the Amren bigots’ comments should appear with trigger warnings!

      • Speedy Steve

        You can’t say trigger because it rhymes with something naughty. Say tregro instead.

  • superlloyd

    This appears to be an unjustified homicide completely opposite to the black thugs who died after committing crimes and resisting lawful arrest. Of course, no one’s heard of this because The MSM including CBS chose to blatantly ignore it as the victim was white and his shooter presumably hispanic.

  • dd121

    The leftist propaganda machine doesn’t give a tinkers damn about any white guy.

  • IstvanIN

    This was a racial killing that White county officials have no problem with.

  • Race Heretic

    I support the cops as I believe in a lawful, orderly society. But I hate what the cops have become. People identified with Andy Taylor and Barney Fife because that’s how they conceived of their hometown cops. Reliable, nice guys, maybe one’s a little goofy and sometimes incompetent – but still, no one was scared of them.

    I drove through a DUI checkpoint last night and the Hispanic cop interrogated me much more than I wanted (I had one of three brake lights out so I wasn’t gonna give him any lip), and he spent a good 15 seconds searching my car through the window. It was really frustrating. It was unnecessarily invasive – I was just trying to get home from an errand.

    In “It’s a Wonderful Life”, George Bailey wrecks his car while drunk – and all the cop cares about is whether or not he’s OK. He isn’t out to wreck George’s life because MADD or another advocacy group says he has to. He’s there to help George.

    Lots of guys become cops because they want to be Andy Taylor. But very often they end up being Adam Torres.

    What do we blame this problem on? This antagonism between police and the public would not have happened without the crazy amount of crime committed by immigrants and minorities, especially blacks. Integration spread the problem everywhere, the breakdown of the family exacerbated it.

    I want Andy Taylor and Barney Fife to be the only cops my town needs. I don’t want a police force of Adam Torres’s. Once the left has completed our country’s Brazilification, our crime will be like Brazil’s and our cops will be like Brazil’s. Adam Torres would fit right in to that force.

    • Alexandra1973

      I believe there are good cops and bad cops. Good cops believe in serving and protecting the public. Bad cops believe in serving their own interests and protecting their backsides.

      I want Officer Friendly, not some jackbooted thug on a power trip.

      • MBlanc46

        And you never can tell which one has pulled you over, so you’d probably better do as he says so you don’t wind up dead. If you think you have grounds, you can sue them later.

  • Petronius

    Fairfax County, VA is a stronghold for immigrants (documented and undocumented). The Fairfax County police have been out of control –– and anti-white –– for a long time now.

  • libertarian1234

    “I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.”

    “Because he was white,” he thought.

  • farbeyonddriven

    I live 20 miles away from Fairfax and have never heard a whisper of this story.

  • Alexandra1973

    I’m willing to bet he was shot because he was male. I wonder if he really was throwing his wife’s possessions out, or she was mad at him and made it up (lack of info here).

  • LHathaway

    Interesting, he was likely staying inside his house to legally protect himself. Kind of like attempting to not consent to being searched or having one’s car searched. They don’t like when you do that. In this case, the cops should be considered honorary blacks.

  • DaveMed

    Torres, Torres…

    Not making any assumptions, but Torres is not necessarily a White name.

    • PvtCharlieSlate

      You don’t have to assume that the sky is blue or assume that there’s salt water in the ocean and you don’t have to make assumptions about “Torres et al”.
      Torres et al do very well working like demons on the dumb end of simple hand tools. Put one of them in a clean shirt and tie and give him some authority and he becomes Mr Arrogant Infallible Macho Man. If you give him a weapon also it just increases the arrogance factor.

  • MBlanc46

    If the public demanded serious investigations of these incidents, then abided by the decisions, perhaps we could take a rational approach to police shootings.

    • evilsandmich

      Incidents like this don’t help when the police try to drum up support for themselves.

  • Speedy Steve

    I can’t find a picture of Adam Torres, but Officer Barnes is a ||egro.

  • WR_the_realist

    There is no parallel between this case and the case of Michael Brown. Michael Brown had just robbed a cigar store, assaulted a cop, tried to take the cop’s gun, ran off, and then charged back at the cop.

    This was an outright execution. But the victim was white, so not a peep will be heard from the usual suspects in the mass media. No politician will stand up for him. The ACLU will find better causes to fight for.

    And no, Geer did not have white privilege. White privilege is a fictitious concept espoused by people who hate whites.

    • archer

      Now it’s claimed that in video not released Brown paid for the cigars and that the store owner didn’t call the police, If that’s case why was Wilson alerted to the description of 2 black men that just robbed the store.

  • bilderbuster

    Feb.19 2015 a Black cop in Gastonia, NC in her own home after she called police for help.
    (Sound of crickets chirping)

    • Who Me?

      Betty Diane Sexton, 43, was shot by officer LaDoniqua Neely after calling police for assistance because her ex-boyfriend and some friend of his wouldn’t leave her house. By the way, just in case you were wondering, Diane Sexton was white. Do you need three guesses on the race of Officer LaDoniqua Neely?

      • bilderbuster

        Thank you for fixing my post.
        I was falling asleep last night when I posted.

        • Who Me?

          No problem, I knew what you meant.

          • bilderbuster

            I noticed.
            Good heads up!

  • PvtCharlieSlate

    You hear about, read about, watch videos of ,,, mobs in the streets, riots in the malls, angry protest marches and feel sympathetic and supportive of the police … and then something like this happens. As another poster put it, I hate what cops have become. I would like to trust them but I know it’s naïve to so.
    Now I suppose there will follow the usual “Just because there’s a few rotten apples in the barrel that doesn’t mean that …”. Well, who is in the best position to know which of the apples are rotten and to do something about them? Does this Fairfax Police Department have an Internal Affairs Division? Or is it the Department of Cover-ups & Co-ordinated Corruption?

    • Who Me?

      When I was little, my grandmother told me if there was a problem to ask a policeman for help. I don’t tell my grandchildren this.

  • archer

    I wouldn’t “fetch my pistol”, I would say it’s in a safe locked up, I wouldn’t stand in my front door with my hands up either, he should have stayed in his house, he mad a perfect target for these clowns who were holding their guns up and pointing at him. He could have had the negotiator come into his house to talk that might have helped diffuse the situation with the trigger happy cops outside.

    • Who Me?

      No negotiator in his right mind would enter the house alone with the suspect. That would be stupid. If the guy had closed the door and requested to speak to the officers via phone, it would have been called a “standoff” and all bets would be off on his leaving the house alive. As it is, he still didn’t leave the house alive, but who in hell expects the cops to shoot you down when you are standing in the doorway of your own home with your hands in the air? Torres’ residence needs to be relocated to a jail cell, asap.

      • Sloppo

        I don’t understand why someone who is “suspected” of helping his ex-girlfriend remove her possessions from his residence with inadequate care should be considered so dangerous to begin with. They treated this guy like he had just robbed a bank and shot a teller and a couple of customers on the way out. Torres doesn’t belong in a jail cell. He deserves the same fate as the man he murdered.

        • archer

          Amen to that.

  • Alden

    We’ll there are pictures of White national guards shoving bayonets into the backs go White teen age girls during the de segregation (destruction ) of Central High in Little Rock. Even worse 20 years later in Boston White Irish cops who lived right in the neighborhood hit White Irish women protesting the busing of savages into their neighborhood schools.

  • Alden

    Whites are especially vulnerable to traffic and even pedestrian stops because we are the only ethnic group that actually pays the traffic tickets. So we are targeted. Last summer both the county sheriffs and small town police of the White suburban counties of San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo set up their Gestapo road blocks at 2/pm on memorial, Labor Day and 4th of July weekends hoping to give tickets to any one and everyone. Another thing cops in those counties do is lurk outside the schools to give tickets to parents dropping off and picking up kids.

    Durban and small town cops also know the calendars of every organization in town. Sunday morning they lurk outside churches. Weekends at the golf course and country club. Book sale at the library, Moose lodge event, back to school night whatever there they are to bully and extort traffic fine money out of the people who pay their salaries.

    A disadvantage of owning a gun is that if police are called for any reason they always ask is there a gun around. If there is expect a full fledge attack.

  • Race War Provisions

    We should deport those homo cops BACK TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY!!!