Authorities called the police-involved shooting death of a man riding a motorcycle in Washington, D.C., a homicide Wednesday.
The District Medical Examiner ruled the death of 31-year-old Terrance Sterling a homicide after he died from gunshot wounds to the neck and back following an encounter with officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Sept. 11. The police say officers began following Sterling after noticing a man on a motorcycle driving erratically. Officers with the MPD fired on Sterling after he allegedly drove his motorcycle into the passenger side door of their police cruiser, reports FOX5.
The officer who fired the shots did not have his body camera turned on during the incident and only activated it after firing on Sterling. The investigation by the MPD remains ongoing.
“There is no way in the world I can tell you exactly what happened,” Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said Tuesday at a press conference. “Frequently, information changes and that is why we do a more thorough investigation.”
Witnesses contradicted the police account, claiming that the collision was an accident and that the officer leaned out his window and shot Sterling, who was unarmed. Both officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the department’s investigation. The officer who fired the shots is Brian Trainer, 27, a four year member of the MPD, reports WJLA.
“I know that there’s great officers, but these bad cops are putting a bad name on them,” Jerry Swanson, a protester, told WTOP Monday.
City officials reworked the body camera policy for the police department in the wake of the shooting, taking steps to confirm an officer has the camera turned on before responding to a call.
Mayor Muriel Bowser decided to release the body camera footage from the shooting Tuesday, but the video only begins after Sterling was shot. The two officers can be seen performing CPR until emergency crews arrived on scene.
Protesters blasted police in D.C. for shooting the unarmed Sterling, and gathered together Monday morning to demonstrate.
“Police in D.C. have to be accountable,” April Goggans, a Black Lives Matter organizer, told WTOP. “We want the names of the officers and we want them fired immediately.”
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