Protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., to continue demonstrations against the police department Monday in the wake of the shooting death of a unarmed black man on a motorcycle.
Activists took to the streets on Columbus Day to draw attention to the death of 31-year-old Terrence Sterling. Friends and family of Sterling gathered at 3rd and M Streets Northwest where he died after suffering gunshot wounds to the neck and back following an altercation with officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Sept. 11. The group blocked traffic at the intersection of New York and New Jersey Avenue for roughly 10 minutes as part of the demonstration, reports WJLA.
Friends of Sterling said they will organize a protest on 3rd and M Streets Northwest every Monday indefinitely as authorities continue their investigation. Last week activists called on Mayor Muriel Bowser to release additional footage of the encounter between Sterling and police, but the mayor’s office declined due to privacy issues.
The officer who fired the shots did not have his body camera turned on prior to the incident and only activated it after firing on Sterling. Bowser released footage from the officer’s body camera two week ago, but protesters want more clarity on the shooting.
“I know that there’s great officers, but these bad cops are putting a bad name on them,” Jerry Swanson, a protester, told WTOP in September.
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.
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.
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.
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