- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Newly released investigative records show a man who was fatally shot by a Fairfax County police officer in the doorway of his home in 2013 had his hands up and was unarmed at the time.

Fairfax County released more than 11,000 pages of documents on the shooting Friday night under court order 17 months after the shooting. The records reveal John Greer told police he didn’t want to die that day after a domestic dispute at his Springfield home.

“I don’t want anybody to get shot,” Greer told police during the standoff. “And I don’t wanna get shot, ‘cause I don’t want to die today.”

According to the records, one officer was talking to Greer, trying to ease him through the standoff when Officer Adam Torres shot and killed Greer from 17 feet away. Torres told investigators he saw Greer move his hands to his waist and thought he might be reaching for a weapon.

Three other officers and a lieutenant contradicted that account. The other officers agreed Greer was unarmed, had his hands above his shoulders and did not move them to his waist.

“When the shot happened, his hands were up,” Officer Rodney Barnes, who had been talking to Geer, told investigators. “I’m not here to throw (Torres) under the bus or anything like that, but I didn’t see what he saw.”

Torres did not issue a warning to Greer before he fired his weapon, according to the documents.

“He killed that guy and he didn’t have to,” Officer David Parker told investigators.

The documents also show Torres was involved in an argument with his wife minutes before his arrival at Greer’s home, and that may have caused him to miss key information about the situation.

Torres told investigators he considered Greer “a credible threat” because he had placed a gun at his feet at the beginning of the standoff. Torres said he thought Greer could have had another weapon hidden at his waist.

“It was not accidental,” Torres told investigators. “No. It was justified. I have no doubt about that at all. I don’t feel sorry for shooting the guy at all.”

Torres has not spoken publicly about the shooting, and has not responded to requests for comment.

The records also reveal why the Fairfax County prosecutor passed the case to the U.S. attorney in Alexandria. Months before the Greer shooting, Torres had an angry “meltdown” during an internal affairs investigation in the county courthouse. During that incident, Torres cursed at a prosecutor and stormed out, according to the documents.

After police refused to make the internal affairs file available to Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh, the prosecutor passed the Greer investigation to the Justice Department.

Greer’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county. Family lawyer Mike Lieberman told The Washington Post (https://wapo.st/1ClAABZ ) the police department knew of the discrepancies between Torres’ account and the other officers within days of the shooting.

“If this was a similar situation involving two ordinary citizens, there is little doubt that any individual who shot an unarmed man who was holding his hands up in the air and claiming that he did not want to hurt anyone would have been arrested and charged,” Lieberman said.


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