Terrence Sterling, 31

Washington, District of Columbia
September 11, 2016

Agencies: United States Capitol Police District of Columbia

Cause of death: Not Yet Known

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31 year-old Terrence Sterling was shot and killed by a District of Columbia police officer who said he rammed a police vehicle with his motorcycle during a traffic stop.

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said in a video on Twitter that the shooting occurred around 4:30 a.m. Sunday at 3rd and M streets, Northwest, about four blocks from the Washington Convention Center.

Newsham says police had gotten reports about a motorcycle driving erratically and caught up with it downtown. After officers stopped Sterling, Newsham says the motorcyclist tried to flee and hit the police car. At that point, an officer shot the motorcyclist. The man was taken to a hospital, where he died.

At least one witness account differs from the police version. According to Kandace Simms, who was waiting at a traffic light at the scene, Sterling may not have struck the police car on purpose. The cruiser and the motorcyclist pulled up beside her "at the same exact time," Simms recounted to Fox 5. Sterling attempted to speed off, but he was blocked by the police car. When the officer couldn't open the passenger side door, which was blocked by the motorcycle, he "rolled down his window and shot twice.”

The motorcycle did strike the cruiser, Simms told Fox 5, "but that is because they blocked him." Simms added that her windows were rolled down and she didn't hear the officer issue any commands to the suspect.

Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters that the officer's body camera footage only showed what happened after Sterling's fatal shooting, according to Fox 5 and WTOP.

Legal Action

September 2016 A second D.C. police officer has been placed on leave in connection to the fatal shooting of an unarmed man, Mayor Muriel Bowser told FOX 5 DC on Tuesday. Bowser said the second officer was driving the cruiser, and allegedly broke police protocol by using the vehicle as a barricade.

September 2016 FOX 5 police sources confirm that the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man riding a motorcycle in D.C. were told by officials over the radio to break off any sort of chase or pursuit.

September 2016 Video released

September 2016 Shot in the back and neck says Medical Examiner

November 2016 Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office have opened a grand jury investigation into the fatal police involved shooting of Terrence Sterling.

December 2016 Lawsuit Filed

On December 5, 2017, a Metropolitan Police Department internal review board found that Officer Brian Trainer was not justified in opening fire on Terrence Sterling. The board recommended Trainer be fired, D.C. police said. Trainer can accept the review board’s recommendation that he be terminated or he can file an objection and go before another review board, which could take another two to three months.

February 2018 DC reaches settlement with family of motorcyclist killed by police officer