It may be several weeks until we finally learn whether a D.C. Police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man will keep his job.
Officer Brian Trainer testified before a trial board that he “shot to stop the threat” and that he felt Sterling “was deliberately trying to run me over” on his motorcycle.
While Trainer pulled the trigger, there were several people who failed the early morning hours of September 11, 2016; including two supervisors.
Sergeants George Donigian and Steven Shwalm were working a scene at 10th and U Streets, NW when they testified that they saw the motorcycle speed by and a police cruiser chasing it.
Both Sergeants got on the police radio and said “no one should be going code one” and “no lights or sirens behind that guy.”
It is against MPD policy to chase within city limits for safety reasons.
Traffic cameras show the driver turned off his lights after that command, but the driver still kept up the chase, blowing through several red lights in the U Street corridor.
A police commander and two captains make up the police trial board and they were livid at the supervisors who they said did nothing even though they saw the officers openly defied orders.
One sergeant said they literally shrugged their shoulders and kept on talking, the other said when the lights went off, he assumed the chase was off. One minute later, 31-year-old Terrence Sterling was shot to death at 3rd and M.
The trial board grilled the sergeants on procedure, other options for tracking a traffic violator, and ultimately their failure to do their job saying "you are a supervisor, the agency needs you to supervise officers."
Officer Trainer was never criminally charged. The board has one week to deliberate and make a recommendation to the chief.
Chief Peter Newsham will decide on the final outcome.