Investigation Finds Killing of DC Motorcyclist “Unjustified”

By Malcolm Speaks

Terrence Sterling, a DC motorcyclist was unjustly murdered by policemen.

Terrence Sterling, a DC motorcyclist was unjustly murdered by policemen.

An internal police investigation concluded that a Washington D.C. police officer who shot and killed an unarmed motorcyclist had no reason to pull his gun and was not in danger when he fired. The investigation contradicted the officer’s account.

The review showed that Officer Brian Trainer and his partner, Officer Jordan Palmer, violated department policies early on Sept. 11, 2016, as they pursued, shot and killed 31-year-old motorcyclist Terrence Sterling, according to the Washington Post.

After the officers spotted Sterling, who according to police was speeding and running red lights, they tracked him as he traveled through the city and then parked their cruiser in an intersection ahead of the biker. Trainer, the passenger, was getting out as Sterling rode forward and the motorcycle struck the car door. He then discharged his firearm twice, striking Sterling in the neck and back.

Trainer, 28, told police he had heard the bike revving before it came “violently” toward him and pinned his leg between the door and the car, according to the internal police report. Additionally, he said that he discharged his firearm because he feared for the safety of Palmer and himself.

However, after re-creating the incident and examining Trainer’s injuries, which the report described as superficial, police revealed that they determined the officer’s leg to have been struck by the car door but never pinned.

The 34-page report also concluded that Sterling was trying to maneuver around the cruiser, not ram it. Investigators noted that Trainer himself told them that, other than Sterling’s reckless driving, he did not have any reason to believe that the motorcyclist would have been “armed and dangerous.” Therefore, Trainer’s decision to shoot “was not in defense of his life, nor was it in defense of the lives of others,” according to the report.

The investigation also noted that video of Trainer giving Sterling medical attention showed the officer kneeling “with all of his weight bearing down on both of his knees,” thus demonstrating that his injuries were not significant.

“These facts refute Officer Trainer’s assertion that his leg was pinned between the door and rocker panel of the scout-car, which was the premise as to why he discharged his service pistol at Mr. Sterling,” the review found.

Also, according to the report, officers are not allowed to fire their weapons at moving vehicles unless deadly force is being used against them or someone else. It also said officers should avoid tactics that put them in a position where a vehicle could be used against them.

Authorities revealed that the officer’s body camera was not turned on at the time of the shooting.

The internal review reported numerous lapses, therefore the shooting was determined to be “unjustified.” Police officials recommended that Trainer be fired.

Federal prosecutors who investigated the shooting, however, stated that there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges against Trainer this past August. Sterling’s family filed a $50 million lawsuit against the officers and the city.

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