Protests continue 1 year after shooting death of Terrence Sterling

It's been one since Terrence Sterling was shot and killed by a D.C. police officer.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Protesters were in the streets of D.C. one year after the shooting death of Terrence Sterling. 

"I'm still shaken, still shocked," said Austin Lee, one of Sterling's closest friends. "I miss him dearly. We grew up together in church."

Lee was among family, friends and peaceful protesters who found comfort in prayer and songs this morning. The group gathered around 4:20 a.m. near the time Sterling was shot and killed at the intersection of Third and M Streets NW.

"It's a heartbreaking feeling," said Minister Steven Douglass, another one of Sterling's close friends. "But, we're still thankful, we're still rejoicing and celebrating that his life is a legacy.

Protesters held signs and candles throughout the morning, some chanting Sterling's name loud for all to hear. Flyers were passed out to drivers, some who honked in support of the movement, explaining Sterling's case and outlining questions and demands for law enforcement officials.

"I think it's very important for two things: to celebrate the life of Terrence Sterling and to bring awareness to the fact that Brian Trainer is not fired yet," said Joshua Gomez, who stood out there for hours holding a sign that called for justice.

Sterling was killed in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2016. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which decided not to file criminal charges against Officer Trainer citing "insufficient evidence," Sterling was driving erratically near the intersection of 17th and U Streets. Officer Brian Trainer and his partner, who was behind the wheel, chased Sterling several blocks.

It ended at Third and M Streets where they tried to block Sterling by stopping in the intersection. Police said Sterling rammed his motorcycle into the cruiser.

Sterling was unarmed at the time of the shooting, however, Trainer's body camera did not catch any of the incident because he turned it on a few minutes after the shooting.

The Metropolitan Police Department asked Trainer for his resignation, which has not happened. The U.S. Attorney's Office cited speed and alcohol as factors on Sterling's end in the incident.

MPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is now able to review the entire incident before the case is submitted to MPD's Use of Force Review Board for an evaluation to determine if any departmental rules or policies were violated.

Protestors led by members of Black Lives Matter DC returned to the intersection at 6:00 Monday evening.

They continued to pass out flyers listing their demands. which included the following:

1. The Firing of Officer Brian Trainer and his partner Officer Jordan Palmer, who sources tell WUSA9’s Delia Gonçalves that he was placed on 20 day suspension following the shooting.

2. MPD create a citizen review board.

3. US Attorney reopen the investigation.

4. Department of Homeland Security release footage from nearby cameras which they believe may have captured the incident. 

“At every turn these officers made mistakes and decisions that led to Terrence losing his life, said April Goggans with Black Lives Matter DC.

The officers violated police policy by pursuing Sterling. Officer Brian Trainer violated MPD policy when he turned on his body camera after shooting an unarmed Sterling in his neck and back. 

Investigators said Sterling was drunk, speeding and driving erratically. The officers pulled the cruiser into the intersection in an attempt “to block him.” Sterling’s motorcycle struck the passenger side door. There are no lights or sirens on in body camera video released by MPD.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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