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Be merciful to the officer who killed our dad: John Geer’s daughters speak

Haylea and Morgan Geer with their dad, John B. Geer, on Father’s Day 2012. They were in a neighbor’s townhouse when a police officer killed their father in 2013. (Maura Harrington)

On Monday, ex-Fairfax County police officer Adam D. Torres pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting 46-year-old John B. Geer in 2013. Geer’s daughters, Haylea, 19, and Morgan, 15, spoke publicly for the first time Monday and released the following statement through their attorney, Michael Lieberman:

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 to the man who should be present as our greatest supporter. Torres took that away from us, the Fairfax County 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.

The question that concerns us now is not just a matter of a trial and incarceration. 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.

We believe, expect, and demand that Torres’ apology admit wrongdoing both on the day he ended Dad’s life and in regards to the lack of contrition he displayed to investigators afterwards. As Torres is pleading guilty to a felony, he will never again be allowed to own a firearm, and that will help ensure the public is safe from another incident like this one. The plea bargain promotes Torres’ rehabilitation and re-entry into society after spending nearly a year incarcerated, without unduly claiming retribution, despite the strength of our emotions to the contrary.

It would be easier to give in to our personal feelings and cry out for Torres to be further punished; we are a society of laws, and there can be no doubt that we are entitled to use this trial as an outlet for our pain, to express our fury that our father was taken from us.  However, we are called and reminded by that pain to avoid inflicting the same upon other children just to satisfy our emotions. It is rare that the easy choice is the right choice, and while we’ve lost our father, we must strive for both justice and mercy. 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.


The Daughters of John Geer