Washington D.C. police claim they shot and killed Terrence Sterling after he drove his motorcycle into a patrol car as an officer was stepping out, making him fear for his life.
But witnesses say the officer shot and killed Sterling from inside his car with the window rolled down after Sterling had crashed his bike into the car.
Brian Trainer, the Metropolitan police officer who killed him, was wearing a body camera, so that should put the debate to rest.
If only he had turned it on.
But Trainer did not turn the body camera on until after he had shot and killed Sterling. The video, released today and posted below, shows another officer pumping the 31-year-old man’s chest as if to revive him.
Now the Metropolitan Police Department has introduced a new policy requiring officers to confirm with dispatchers that they have their body cameras turned on.
The incident took place at around 4:30 a.m. on September 11 as Sterling was riding his motorcycle home from a bachelor party.
Police say he was driving “recklessly,” so they tried to pull him over, but they say he tried to elude them, only to “intentionally” drive towards another patrol car as Trainer was stepping out of the passenger’s side, according to a press release.
It was only then that Trainer shot and killed him.
But witnesses say Trainer was riding in the passenger seat of a patrol car that parked itself directly in the motorcycle’s path, causing the collision.
In the moments after the crash, Sterling tried to pick his bike back up and drive away as Trainer tried to open the passenger door, but the bike was blocking the door, which was when Trainer rolled down his window and shot Sterling.
According to Fox 5:
However, a witness to the shooting told FOX 5 about a different account of the incident. Kandace Simms said she had just picked up a friend and was sitting in the right-hand lane waiting at the traffic light at 3rd and M Streets.
“So I pulled up to the light and I was there by myself for some time and some cars were coming behind me, but then I saw a motorcycle come on the left of me and then the police car blocked the motorcycle, so they kind of came at the same exact time,” said Simms. “The motorcycle was trying to speed off and drive away, but he couldn’t because he was kind of caught in between the sidewalk at the curb and the police car. So the police were trying to open the passenger side door and he couldn’t because the motorcycle was right there, and I guess when he couldn’t open the door, he rolled down his window and shot twice.”
Simms said her windows were rolled down and she heard no commands coming from the officer in the cruiser. She said she saw the motorcycle strike the cruiser once.
“It did, but that is because they blocked him,” she said. “The police car wasn’t right there when I pulled up.”
And knowing how cops are always worried about their safety, it does not make sense that an officer would step out of his vehicle to stop a man recklessly driving a motorcycle.
But that is how police worded it in their press release.
“When the officer was exiting the passenger side of his marked police cruiser to stop the driver, the motorcyclist intentionally drove into the passenger door and the officer fired his service weapon.”
But why would a man trying to elude police drive directly into a police car?
And even if he did, why the need to kill him if the whole purpose was to stop him from driving recklessly?
UPDATE: Terrence Sterling was shot in the back and in the neck, a medical examiner reported on Wednesday.