Terrence Sterling

D.C. Cop Who Killed An Unarmed Black Motorcyclist Will Not Face Criminal Charges

Another day, another failure by America’s justice system.

Washington D.C. officer Brian Trainer, 27, will not face charges after fatally shooting and killing Terrence Sterling—a unarmed black motorcyclist—in September 2016, federal prosecutors announced yesterday. The U.S. attorney’s office released a statement that says, “there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or District of Columbia charges.”

It’s the same old story we’ve been hearing since forever, just new names and details are swapped in. According to a statement by the U.S. attorney’s office, 31-year-old Sterling was riding his motorcycle erratically, speeding through red lights and hitting speeds of 100 mph. The statement claims that after stopping Sterling in an intersection, he revved up his bike and charged at the squad car in which Trainer was attempting to exit. Sterling allegedly made contact with the passenger door, leading Trainer to fire two rounds, killing Sterling. He claims he only remembered to turn on his body camera after the shots were fired.

Multiple eyewitnesses interviewed by Washington Post had different accounts, claiming that the officers cut Sterling’s motorcycle off in pursuit—a violation of police policy—and that the biker seemed to be trying to get around the police car, unintentionally making contact with the vehicle.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department has asked for Trainer’s resignation for violating policy and not turning on his body camera sooner, but he has yet to resign and is currently on administrative leave. “I do not believe there can be real accountability if the officer remains on the force,” Bowser said in a statement.

Sterling’s death was widely protested around the country in its wake. His family is currently suing D.C. and the police department for $50 million.

“That is disappointing and frustrating,” Sterling’s family attorney Jason Downs told reporters. “It frustrates the purpose of our system. After sitting through so much evidence, grand jurors should have been given the right to vote this up or down. The prosecutor’s office took that decision away from them.”

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