That Was Then
Barely a week seems to go by without a public statement being issued by officials in Fairfax County that includes some now-obligatory remark about transparency. They really seem to think that if they say the word enough, the public will actually be fooled into thinking that is the same as being transparent. It’s a tactic that’s worked before, but residents have seen this particular dog and pony show too many times before.
Here’s the Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, trying to pull the wool over our eyes by saying this is a fairly new problem, going back only 2 years.
This is a deliberate, blatant lie. Fairfax County’s secrecy and cover up attempts are legendary, leading local reporters to dub the Fairfax County Police Department “the Secret Police.”
To remember the many victims of police violence in Fairfax County, and to continue to press for justice and accountability for these deaths, Northern Virginia Cop Block is holding a protest on Tuesday, August 4th in front of the judicial center that houses the police headquarters, the sheriff’s office, county courthouse, and jail. This date coincides with National Night Out, an event that the Fairfax County Police Department has been promoting relentlessly on social media, perhaps in the desperate effort to draw attention away from their many transgressions against residents. However, messages like the one below only serve to highlight their staggering hypocrisy in refusing to hold the killer cops in their own ranks accountable for their crimes against the community.
This was one order we couldn’t resist.
What has the Fairfax County Police Department learned in the aftermath of John Geer’s unjustified death? If you read Iraq vet Alex Horton’s article in the Washington Post yesterday, you know the answer is “absolutely nothing.” Of course, this would have also been obvious to anyone paying attention over the past 2 years, but Horton’s experience provides striking evidence that the FCPD is still carelessly aiming weapons on unarmed residents, and sees no issue with doing it.
We learned from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) review of the FCPD’s use of force policy and practices that the first thing new recruits go through at the police academy is firearms training. They apparently don’t bother going over the basic firearm safety rules that you see posted at every civilian gun range:
If FCPD officers Adam Torres and Deval Bullock had followed these rules, John Geer and Sal Culosi would be alive today.
Here are the facts of the case: Alex Horton was staying in a model unit at his apartment complex because management was repairing a leak in his apartment. When he returned home one night, he accidentally left his door ajar, leading a neighbor to believe a squatter might be in the apartment. The resident then called the police. Horton recounts what happened next: Read more
On May 5th, 2015 activists purposed to raise awareness in Martinsburg WV and the surrounding areas about the murder of Wayne Jones by (5) Martinsburg Police Officers on March 13, 2013. Flustered that the Wayne Jones murder has not received the proper media attention other police shootings have afforded, locals and other citizens say that the Jones shooting should receive similar press and attention if not more than those who’ve been given significant exposure in the national media. Since October 2014, The Full Court Press covered this case while the public was being misled about the details of the incident. Several articles by TFCP exposed the anomalies and facts which none of the local media dared to disclose. Slowly, local and mainstream media started reporting the factual inconsistencies and, indeed did some of their own investigative reporting regarding the despicable behavior of the Martinsburg officers. As it stands, the press is now finally catching up. There is no indication that they are further parroting the content provided in press releases and other documents supplied by the City of Martinsburg and their Police Dept.
Last Sunday marked the beginning of National Police Week (NPW), a time for cops from all over the nation to converge on DC to remember their fallen brethren by drinking and urinating in public, driving drunk, and engaging in other general lawlessness.
Here’s a video someone took showing some of the typical drunken illegal antics residents have to endure during Police Week. Some of the worst incidents have involved more serious offenses such as rape.
In between the bouts of behavior unbecoming an officer, there are also ceremonies to remember the dead and inscribe new names on monuments. What the NPW pomp and circumstance fails to recognize, however, is how relatively safe it is to be a police officer in the United States. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that policing doesn’t even rank in the top ten most dangerous professions. Loggers, garbage men, and construction workers all provide a vital service to our communities, and experience a far higher rate of on the job deaths, however no one erects a memorial or dedicates a week of remembrance for their sacrifices.
The rate of on-duty deaths for law enforcement is low, and so are the total numbers of deaths. In a typical year, somewhere around 120 officers die while on duty. Contrary to the popular notion that cops killed on the job usually die in a hail of bullets or some other dramatic fashion, most of them die from more mundane causes like, car accidents and heart attacks. Fallen officer statistics are also inflated by including the deaths of police dogs. It’s ironic that they give such reverence to K-9 officers considering the huge number of dogs routinely killed by police officers each year. Read more
State Senator Bill Carrico is a retired Virginia State Trooper. Unfortunately, it appears he has been more interested in representing his old buddies at the VSP in the Senate, than he is in representing his constituents and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
The trouble all started in 2013 when Ben Cline’s anti-indefinite detention bill (HB2229) passed the House of Delegates 83-14 on its first attempt. This bill would prevent Virginia citizens from being tossed in a hole without trial, charge, or representation, and place power in the hands of the local sheriff to keep his citizens safe from violations of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. The bill then went to the senate and passed out of committee 14-1.
Before the bill could be voted on for final passage, it was passed by for the day 5 times. Here’s a hint, that doesn’t happen without somebody pulling some strings. When it finally was given a vote, “Police State Bill” amended it, and it passed the Senate 31-9. His amendments, they ripped the teeth out of the bill and took the sunlight provisions out that would’ve disclosed all of the Memorandums of Understanding between the Commonwealth and the feds. Why would he have done that? The math is pretty simple: the feds didn’t want the bill to pass – even though the bill would’ve done nothing unless the feds violated it, so they went to the VSP to ask them to carry water for them. The VSP went to their good buddy “Police State Bill,” and he decided to emasculate the bill to please the VSP and thus the feds.
Remember, this is Read more
- August 29, 2013 John Geer, an unarmed Springfield resident, was shot and killed by a Fairfax County Police Officer, as he stood with his empty hands held up above his head in the doorway of his own home
- February 6, 2014 The Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney refers the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office after the FCPD refused to provide access to documents required for the investigation
- September 2, 2014 Geer’s longtime partner, Maura Harrington, files a civil lawsuit asking for $12 million in damages for Geer’s two teenage daughters, and access to documents related to investigation
- November 13 & December 16, 2014 Senator Charles Grassley sends letters to FCPD Chief Ed Roessler, Jr., The U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney seeking basic answers about the case that the county had been stonewalling on for more than a year
- December 22, 2014 The Judge presiding over the civil lawsuit orders Fairfax County to release documents pertaining to the investigation within 30 days
- January 8, 2015 The Justice for John Geer Group and Northern Virginia Cop Block hold a protest in front of FCPD Headquarters
- January 30, 2015 After waiting until the 30th day to release investigation documents to John Geer’s family, Fairfax County posts 11,000 documents to its website for public review
Members of the Justice for John Geer Group and Northern Virginia Cop Block attended Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland’s Annual Town Hall Meeting on Saturday morning to get information on Fairfax County’s plans for 2015 regarding the John Geer case and police accountability. This meeting was an excellent opportunity to publicly pressure key government officials since Hyland chairs the Public Safety Committee and because the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova, and County Executive Edward Long, Jr. would also be attending and giving remarks.
Here are some of the things we learned from today’s action at Mount Vernon:
1. This is not going away
Two residents made substantive comments pushing for independent review, and taking the supervisors to task for their inaction, obfuscation, and failure to take responsibility. Both comments were met with enthusiastic applause from the audience and were widely covered by local media. In addition, multiple other members inquired about the case and how they could get involved in the effort to make police accountability a reality in Fairfax County. It’s clear that this case has galvanized the community to such a great extent that it is now impossible for the Board of Supervisors to wait until it just “blows over.” If they don’t take decisive and responsive action, the thing that blows over just might be their political careers.
Organizers and Activists self-affiliated with Northern Virginia Cop Block are on a mission to find Justice for John Geer, a father of 2 who was shot and killed Fairfax Police Employee Adam Torres on August 29th 2013 and only since recently has the general public been getting more insight and questions answered by the police about who killed him, still no reasoning as to why. It was reported that Geer had his hands up for 50 minutes per the request of the police while he stood outside on his front porch talking to the police. As you can only imagine his arms naturally got fatigued. According to an eye witness named Jeff Stewart a neighbor who is a witness in the civil suit, the palms of his hands were still up yet lowered to around his face when he was shot, unarmed.
Geer standing in his doorway with hands up (photo taken by Michael Lieberman)
Mike Curtis a Fairfax resident who affiliates himself with Northern Virginia Cop Block took the lead on organizing the demonstration on which was located outside the Fairfax Police which is adjacent to several court house buildings and he had a had the support of a small team of help! Throughout the demonstration a few individuals were handing out civil rights informational packets referred to as “Liberty Empowerment Packets” and the rest were being as visible as possible even separating into two groups with the other standing on the sidewalk along the main road in front of the courthouse complex.
Tom Jackman a journalist with the Washington Post has been following the John Geer story since the death of Geer. I highly recommend reading his latest article about the recently released information that has been long-awaited concerning the death of Geer, that confirmed Geer’s hands were still in fact raised when shot – and died as the result of single shot and no rendered medical aid.
Below are some pictures video and links to all the press that came out that day and their stories on the demonstration.
To get involved and stay up to date with the John Geer case to to help hold these public officials accountable get involved with the Justice for John Geer Group. Maybe you’re in Virginia, but not northern Virginia and want to get involved, check out the various Virginia Cop Block Chapters.
PRESS with interviews from some of the organizers and participants:
NBC Washington Coverage
MyFox DC Coverage
WUSA9 Coverage (2)
Tom Jackman Washington Post
Connection Newspaper Coverage
, Civil Suit
, Corrupt Police
, Dirty Police
, Justice System
Tags: Adam Torres
, Fairfax County
, Fairfax Police
, Fairfax Police Department
, John Geer
, Justice for John Geer
, police accountability
, Police Brutality
, Tom Jackman