It took 16 months for the Fairfax County Police Department to release the name of the officer photographed pointing a gun at a man standing in his doorway with his hands raised, a photo snapped by a neighbor moments before officer Adam Torres opened fire, killing John Geer.
And it took an additional three months before the Virginia police department decided to fire Torres, ending an 11-month stretch on paid administrative leave for the officer.
On Monday, a little less than two year after he killed Geer, Torres was indicted on second-degree murder, marking the first time in the department’s 75-year history that an officer will face criminal prosecution for an on-duty shooting.
Torres, of course, claims Geer was reaching for his waistband.
His fellow officers, surprisingly, said they never saw that.
Torres told investigators he shot Geer, because “he brought both his hands down really quick near his waist.” Torres said he felt Geer was a threat.
“It was not accidental,” Torres told detectives. “No, it was justified. I have no doubt about that at all. I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.”
But four officers on the scene and Geer’s father and a friend, who were also there, said Geer’s hands remained above his shoulders when he was shot.
“When the shot happened, his hands were up,”Barnes told detectives. “I’m not here to throw [Torres] under the bus or anything like that, but I didn’t see what he saw.”
Police were dispatched to Geer’s home on August 29, 2013 when his longtime partner, Maura Harrington, called 911 to complain that he was throwing her belongings in the front yard. She also told them he had guns.
Geer did show a holstered gun at one point during the 42-minute standoff in which police were trying to negotiate with him, but he placed it down near his feet by the time he had been shot.
Although his fellow officers are now testifying against Torres, police initially refused to release any records pertaining to the shooting to prosecutors.
It took Geer’s partner to file a lawsuit before police were finally forced to release Torres’ name.
And once his records were released, the public learned that he had been the subject of four internal investigations, a man the media described as being “prone to anger.”
But even after Fairfax County paid a $2.95 million settlement to Harrington, there was still no word on whether he would be charged.
And considering the case went before a grand jury, which routinely and secretly refuses to indict cops for killing citizens, the fact they came back with an indictment was surprising to many.
“Frankly, I was surprised,” Harrington told the Washington Post. “I’m so happy that they’re validating what we said, and believed to be the case, that he should be charged.”
Torres turned himself in on Monday and is being held without bond.