Washington, DC police recently released the body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting of unarmed Black motorist. Thirty one year old, Terrence Sterling, was shot by police late last month while riding his motorcycle. Sterling’s death prompted changes to the department’s bodycam policy.
According to a statement released by the mayor’s office, 27-year-old, Washington, DC police officer, Brian Trainer, turned his bodycam on after firing his service weapon. The incident occurred on the evening of September 11, 2016. The camera captured graphic video of Trainer and his partner giving aid to Sterling, who was bleeding out on the street.
Sterling was a heating and air conditioning technician who lived in nearby Fort Washington, Maryland. Officers claimed they were attempting to pull him over because he was riding his motorcycle “erratically”.
“The person that was riding the motorcycle attempted to flee, ended up striking the police car and at that point… shots were fired,” said Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham.
According to the department, Sterling nearly ran into Trainer, who had stepped out of the police cruiser on the passenger side, and the officer fired in self-defense. There is no video to corroborate this, however, as Trainer had not turned his body camera on. When the officer’s body camera was finally turned on, Sterling was on the ground, pinned under his motorcycle bleeding out.
Several eyewitnesses told local media that Trainer rolled down his window and fired from inside the police cruiser, and that Sterling was not aiming at the car.
The death of theTerrence Sterling prompted DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to order a change to the MPD bodycam policy, ordering officers to confirm to dispatch that their cameras were on and recording.