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Police Shooting of DC Motorcyclist Prompts Change to Bodycam Rules

By: Allan M. Siegel

On September 11, 2016, Terrence Sterling had recently left a bachelor’s party and was operating a motorcycle in the District of Columbia, and crashed his vehicle into a Metropolitan Police Department vehicle. Either immediately before or after the crash – the timing is unclear – a police officer, Officer Brian Trainer, shot and killed Mr. Sterling, who was unarmed at the time.

Police Brutality DCPolice claim that Mr. Sterling was sighted operating his motorcycle erratically before the crash, and that he intentionally caused the crash and was shot to protect officer safety. However, some witnesses dispute the police account, assert that the crash appeared to be an accident, and that the officer unnecessarily shot Mr. Sterling after the crash. Peaceful protests against police violence have followed the incident.

Just recently, the MPD released the available bodycam footage from Officer Brian Trainer. Unfortunately, Officer Trainer did not turn on his bodycam until after the incident. This has led the MPD to issue a new policy, requiring police officers to confirm with dispatchers that they have turned on their bodycams when they respond to a call or interact with citizens.

Police officers protect the public safety, but they should also be held accountable when they use unnecessary force that injures or kills citizens. If you or anyone that you know has been wrongfully hurt by police force, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a free consultation.