Here’s another roundup of what’s been happening in Fairfax County recently.
Adam Torres Gets the Vapors
Adam Torres proved he can do the crime, but can’t do the time on Wednesday when he fainted dead away in court upon learning he would be staying in jail until his trial. He will be spending at least 4 months in jail since his trial is not set to start until December 14th. This means that even if a jury fails to convict, Torres will still spend more time in jail for an unjustified homicide than any other Fairfax County Police officer. Technically, he already had that distinction when he was taken into custody on Monday, since no other FCPD officer has ever even been indicted for such a crime.
There has been a lot of talk about reforming the Fairfax County Police Department by training more officers in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). CIT is designed to help police officers “more effectively communicate with and understand the particular needs of individuals with mental illness,” and “de-escalate situations.” What’s not mentioned is that Adam Torres was CIT-certified yet he still shot and killed an unarmed man who had been talking calmly to one of another FCPD officer and had repeatedly asked him to stop pointing his gun at him. CIT is no substitute for properly screening and removing unfit police officers who do not respect sanctity of life or civil liberties, as we learned on Wednesday at the arraignment.
In arguing against bond for Torres, Commonwealth’s Attorney (what Virginia calls its prosecutors) Ray Morrogh revealed that this killer cop was even more dangerously unraveling than we previously knew. Morrogh informed the judge that Torres’ wife had run off to Hawaii with a boyfriend (this site lists Adam Torres as an Ashley Madison user), and that Torres had been sent home for appearing “upset and disoriented” at work. This is in addition to a courthouse blowup where he screamed profanities at another prosecutor, and caused such a scene that other police officers intervened. The Fairfax County Police Department has an “Early Identification System” to alert them to problem officers. This system is an obvious failure since it didn’t get Torres evaluated and taken off the street before he could kill John Geer. Of course, common sense should have told those in charge that Torres was obviously unfit for duty and a ticking time-bomb ready to go off every time they sent him on a call.
It’s a real twist of fate that Torres’ situation highlights the plight of millions of Americans caught up in the justice system. Most of the people in jail are awaiting trial, not yet convicted. A big difference is that most of them are nonviolent offenders who were not denied bond. They merely can’t afford to pay it.
Sharon Bulova’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Sad Day
As I’ve already reported, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova was very verklempt at the press conference about Torre’s indictment. As if it weren’t bad enough that she said it was a sad day at least four separate times, she then took to Facebook to continue her tone-deaf remarks by writing, “To have a police officer indicted for murder is a tragedy for all involved.”
To be fair, Bulova recently had surgery for some undisclosed vocal condition so perhaps these aggressively stupid and offensively inappropriate comments are due to the influence of strong painkillers. By the way, I secretly believe this condition may have been a mutiny attempt on the part of vocal chords forced to spew the massive amount of mendacious bullshit that she’s produced over her 27-year political career. At any rate, her voice box appears to be telling her to sit down and shut up, and I agree with it. Any politician who is so hopelessly out-of-touch that they would publicly describe a person being rightfully indicted for murder after killing an innocent man as a tragedy is undeniably unfit for public office.
Doing the right thing just doesn’t seem to be Bulova’s style, so there’s basically zero chance she’ll resign her post. Since we’re undoubtedly stuck with her for at least another term, I’ve provided a helpful list of events she can refer to the next time she wants to talk about things than can be considered tragedies:
- March 5, 2013, when FCPD leadership negligently declined to relieve Torres of his duties following his courthouse blow up (see page 136).
- August 29th, 2013 – the most tragic day of all, the day Torres shot and killed John Geer
- September 10th, 2013, the first Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting after John Geer was murdered.
- The BOS have said that they receive a briefing on all officer-involved shootings in closed session. That briefing should have included information about how none of the other officers on the scene backed up Torres’ account of Geer making a sudden movement that made it look like he was reaching for a gun. If it didn’t include that information, whoever provided the briefing should be terminated. If it did, it shows the extent of the supervisors’ lies about being kept in the dark until being forced to respond to Senator Grassley’s inquiries. The deputy county attorney accused of keeping them in the dark, Cynthia Tianti has said in her grievance against the BOS, that The Washington Post wrote a “story about the failure of the County Attorney’s Office to inform the Chairman or the Board, which was not true.”Additionally, if the BOS knew an unarmed man had been shot without cause and there were credible witness statements to that effect, but the county attorney’s office kept the prosecutor from speaking with them, why did they never proactively follow up on the status of the investigation? The Fairfax Police Department and the Deputy County Executive for Public Safety report to the BOS, not the county attorney’s office. If they didn’t automatically provide updates to the BOS on a high-profile case like this, why didn’t they?
- Whichever date all of the Fairfax County officials involved decided to betray the officers on the scene who told the truth about what happened, choosing instead to sit on the information they provided, and engage in a cover-up that protected a killer cop. Indeed, a November 8, 2013 email from Torres (pg 138) shows that rank and file police officers did not seem to support the Geer shooting. It’s likely they also wondered why those in charge did nothing to address it.
Today I heard what I would consider disturbing news/rumors concerning my shooting. From one person, who approached me in the cafeteria in the courthouse began asking questions about the shooting. I did not tell him however he told me he heard stories from people in the Mason station that there were/are ongoing conversations about my “bad shooting” in roll calls and was allegedly heard from the radio on Aug 29. Since I’m not from Mason I wonder how many other stations are getting a hold of their own spin on things especially when those officers weren’t at the shooting to witness. From West Springfield I’ve heard several stories, all on a negative side. Basically it sounds like my reputation around the county is going downhill. On top of that I’ve been hearing about the great shooting at Mount Vernin a little while ago. And yes I’ve heard that I shouldn’t be worried about what people say, but I’m not sure what anyone is expecting me to think or do when these accusations are going around and I can’t do anything about it.
Worst part is I’m stuck wondering where this investigation is heading and no one can tell me anything. All I can hope is someone give me some insight on what to do or expect other than to hang in there, be patient. If/when I’m cleared of this shooting, is it even worth going back to patrol to deal the harrassment? I’m very aware this is not a very popular shooting among citizens, so when my name gets released I’m sure I’ll get some backlash.
Had Fairfax officials acted in a forthright manner, this case would have moved forward much sooner and without the extreme loss of faith and legitimacy that the FCPD has experienced over the past two years.
- August 30, 2013 through July 31, 2015. The time period that Adam Torres was allowed to collect his annual salary of $68,783 plus benefits and retirement contributions after killing John Geer.
- April 20, 2015, when Fairfax County settled the lawsuit brought on behalf of Geer’s two teenaged daughters for $2.95 million, paid for by innocent taxpayers.
The Department of Justice is now investigating the brutal death of Natasha McKenna, a mentally ill woman who died after being tasered four times by six sheriff’s deputies who had already restrained her with handcuffs, leg shackles, and a mask over her head. Reports state that all investigative materials have been turned over to the FBI, but not when they were turned over.
At Monday’s press conference, Chief Roessler stated that there was only one copy of the video of the incident, which seems odd. Why wouldn’t they make back-up copies to ensure the video was not lost or tampered with? Wouldn’t it be convenient if something happened to the video before the public ever got to see it?
For time being, it’s still wait and watch mode regarding whether any charges will be filed in the case, and not even the names of the cops involved have been released. Because Fairfax County officials care so deeply about being transparent.