Wrongful Death: Family of police shooting victim John Geer receives $3 million settlement
With the help of a wrongful death attorney, the family of John Geer settled with Fairfax County this week regarding the police shooting that led to Geer’s death in 2013.
Mr. Geer was shot and killed by police while standing with his hands up in the doorway to his own home. He was unarmed and reportedly said to police, “I don’t want anybody to get shot and I don’t wanna get shot, ‘cause I don’t want to die today.”
Why Was Mr. Geer Shot?
The police were on Mr. Geer’s property in response to a domestic dispute. Geer lived on the property with his girlfriend and their two children.
However, while officers were attempting to talk Geer into peaceful surrender, Officer Adam Torres shot and killed Geer from about 17 feet away. Officer Torres told investigators that he thought Geer was moving his hands toward his waist and could have been reaching for a weapon. However, the other officers on the scene maintain that Geer’s hands were up and he was clearly unarmed.
Following the shot, Geer retreated into his home where he bled to death. Officers did not attempt to administer aid for over an hour after the shot was fired.
In the aftermath of Geer’s wrongful death, Officers issued statements like, “I didn’t see what [Officer Torres] saw,” and “[Torres] killed that guy and he didn’t have to.” Reports also arose showing that Officer Torres had been involved in a heated argument with his wife shortly before the incident and that had a history of heated outbursts, including a “meltdown” during an internal affairs investigation months prior to the Geer shooting.
Officer Torres told the press he “didn’t feel sorry at all,” for shooting and killing Mr. Geer.
Who Is Responsible For Mr. Geer’s Death?
While the wrongful death of John Geer remains under criminal investigation and internal police review at both the federal and state levels, the family of the victim was awarded approximately $3 million in a settlement with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Board chairman Sharon Bulvoa told CBS that she was “pleased that a fair settlement has been reached and I hope this may bring some measure of closure to the family of John Geer.”
While further suits continue to make progress, a group called Justice for John Geer has issued demands that all documentation relating to the police shooting be made available to the public. The group lobbied at Mount Vernon’s town hall regarding some 11,000 pages of documentation relating to the case. Group member Mike Curtis told ABC 7 that even the information had been deliberately released at odd hours to avoid negative attention. “Obviously they don’t want it to be picked up by the media,” he said.
Geer’s family members have expressed frustration that Officer Torres is still on county payroll while the investigation is underway. The victim’s father, Don Geer, told The Connection, “As far as I’m concerned, until charges are pressed with Torres, it won’t be a closure. Fairfax has still done nothing as far as [Torres] is concerned. He’s still on the daggone payroll. I’m paying his salary. That’s really quite disgusting.”
Jeff Stewart, a friend of Mr. Geer’s who witnessed the police shooting says that “money doesn’t solve the problem … money doesn’t hold anyone accountable.”
Police misconduct, leading to countless accounts of police brutality, police shootings, and wrongful deaths per year is a serious issue. The Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff has represented the victims of police misconduct; helping seek the reparation they are owed.
If you have been the victim of police misconduct or are bereaved as the result of a wrongful death at the hands of police, call our offices at (212) 962-1020. We’ll ensure that you are connected to an experienced police misconduct attorney who will listen to your case and advise you on your legal options for compensation and care.