The family of a man who was shot and killed by police in the doorway of his home has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against Fairfax County. On Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the family of John Geer agreed to settle the lawsuit for $2,950,000.
Geer was shot and killed by Fairfax County Police Officer Adam Torres on August 29, 2013. Torres shot Geer one time after officers were called to a domestic dispute at the home Geer shared with his longtime partner, Maura Harrington, and their two children.
Fairfax County's self-insured retention from the insurance fund covers the first $1 million of the settlement, and excess insurance covers the remaining balance.
"I am pleased that a fair settlement has been reached and I hope this may bring some measure of closure to the family of John Geer," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova in a statement.
Geer's father, Don, said he has had countless sleepless nights over the past 19 months wondering why his son was shot. He spoke before the Virginia Citizens Coalition for Police Accountability about the difficulty in bringing the facts to light.
Don Geer is relieved to have a settlement in the civil lawsuit against the Fairfax County Police Department.
"It's a step up the ladder towards closure," he said. "There's still a long ways to go before we get there, but it's another step in the right direction."
It took pressure from a U.S. senator, a Fairfax County judge and the media to get some answers. After months of pushing, the police department revealed the name of the officer who opened fire and that four other officers and two nearby witnesses did not see what Officer Torres claims he saw.
The Geer family is still pushing forward for answers.
"What we still have to worry or be concerned about is possibly getting an indictment against the shooter Torres, and I think getting the police department to kind of change their ways a little bit because they certainly didn't do as good a job as they could have in this situation," said Geer.
Geer's attorney says that is the next step to bring the case against Officer Torres to a grand jury and try him for murder.
Officer Torres has maintained all along the shooting was not an accident. He told investigators he saw Geer lower his hands and thought he was going for a gun.
Officer Torres remains on paid administrative leave.
The county says Geer's shooting remains under investigation under a police administrative review process and criminal investigation at both the federal and state levels.