Cop who shot biker asked to resign
Unactivated camera violation of policy
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says a Metropolitan Police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black motorcyclist last year has been asked to resign.
The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said Wednesday that it won’t file charges against the officer in the 2016 death of Terrence Sterling of Fort Washington because there was insufficient evidence to prove the officer used unreasonable force or wasn’t acting in self-defense.
City officials have acknowledged that Officer Brian Trainer violated policy by not activating his body camera until after the shooting, which happened after a high-speed chase.
Miss Bowser said late Wednesday that it is “unacceptable” that the officer didn’t activate the camera and that she doesn’t “believe there can be real accountability if the officer remains on the force.”
Police are completing their own investigation, but the Democratic mayor says police officials have asked for Officer Trainer’s resignation.
The Metropolitan Police Department released a statement Wednesday saying Officer Trainer will remain on administrative leave as the department begins its own investigation now that the federal probe is over.
Federal officials have said the chase began when Sterling pulled in front of a police cruiser and accelerated through a red light.
“Mr. Sterling looked over his shoulder in the direction of the officers and then accelerated at a high rate of speed through the red light,” prosecutors said in a statement.
A chase ensued, covering 25 city blocks, federal officials said. Sterling allegedly drove 100 mph or more while narrowly missing pedestrians and cars. The chase ended with the 31-year-old heating and air-conditioning technician ramming his motorcycle into a police cruiser’s door.
An attorney for Sterling’s family says he didn’t collide with the car with any great force.
Federal officials said the level of alcohol in Sterling’s blood was 0.16, twice the legal limit. They said he also tested positive for marijuana.
The September shooting led to sustained protests and attracted national attention from activists concerned about police brutality.
Sterling’s parents filed a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit, claiming that Sterling posed no threat and that the officer was negligent when he failed to turn on his body camera.
In response to the shooting, city 911 operators have been instructed to remind officers to turn their cameras on, and officers have been ordered to acknowledge the reminder.
The department has not specified the race of the officer, but Jason Downs, the lead attorney for Sterling’s family, has said his understanding is the officer is white.
Mr. Downs told Fox 5 on Wednesday that there was “no good reason for the government to decline to prosecute under these circumstances.”
“We have to acknowledge that this is another young man that was unarmed, that was killed by a police officer,” Mr. Downs added. “This is why people believe that there are two justice systems: one for the police officers and one for the rest of us.”
Sterling’s death prompted protests by activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Steven Douglass, a youth minister who knew Sterling and organized protests, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that decision not to prosecute is a “smack in the face.”
“The community doesn’t feel safe,” Mr. Douglass said. “We now walk around with murderers who we pay with our tax dollars to protect and serve. We will protest and let it be known that we as a community will not be accepting this decision.”