Union head defends ex-officer charged with John Geer’s death

WASHINGTON — A local police union head who strongly defends a former Fairfax County officer charged with second-degree murder is drawing fire for the contents of a public letter that criticizes his department, elected leaders and the criminal justice system.

The President of Fairfax Coalition of Police Local 5000 Sean Corcoran posted a statement on the union’s Facebook page about the 2013 fatal shooting of John Geer.

In August 2013, Fairfax County police officers responded to a domestic dispute call at Geer’s Springfield, Virginia, home and arrived to find him at his front door, unarmed and unwilling to leave his house. After a standoff, court documents say then Fairfax County Officer Adam Torres shot Geer in the chest and killed him.

Fellow officers on the scene and other witnesses said Geer was holding his hands above his head at the time, according to court documents.

In the Facebook post Corcoran criticizes:

  • The police department, saying Torres is a scapegoat being led to the slaughter because of institutional failures and the “inability of senior officials to resolve administrative issues professionally and sensibly.”
  • Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh, saying statements Morrogh made at a bond hearing for Torres were salacious and “based on conjecture, rumor, and fallacies involving Adam’s personal life.”
  • Circuit Court Judge Stephen Shannon for denying Torres bond because of a “deteriorating mental state” that made Torres a danger to society. Corcoran writes, “Where was this danger as Adam came and went from the public safety complex for the past two years?”
  • Elected leaders, saying they issue platitudes praising police while barely giving officers resources and manpower needed to do the job.

Jeff Stewart, Geer’s friend of 25 years who witnessed the shooting, disputes many of the details described in Corcoran’s letter.

“In his letter, he says John made numerous threats to friends, family and police officers,” Stewart tells WTOP. “His statements are so off base and so irresponsible that it’s — difficult even to fathom.”

Both Corcoran and Stewart serve on a county commission examining police policies and procedures that was formed after Geer’s death.

Fairfax County Police Chief  Edwin C. Roessler Jr. says Torres was terminated from the department on July 31 for violating “policies and procedures on the use of force.”

Torres is being held without bond. His trial is set to begin in December.

Read each man’s letter here:

Stewart rebuttal to Fairfax police union letter

Corcoran letter regarding Adam Torres

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up