WASHINGTON - The D.C. police trial board has recommended that Officer Brian Trainer, who fatally shot motorcyclist Terrence Sterling, be fired, according to officials.
Trainer has been on paid administrative leave since the September 2016 shooting that left the 31-year-old unarmed African American man dead. Trainer petitioned for his job before the board and pleaded not guilty to the three charges he faced. He now has 10 days to appeal the board's decision to D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham.
Sterling was on his motorcycle in Northwest D.C. when the shooting and chase happened. The two officers involved said Sterling was speeding and ran a light. They broke police policy and chased him, using their cruiser to block his path. After Sterling collided with the car, Trainer opened fire. Trainer did not turn on his body camera until after the shooting.
FFollowing the shooting, Trainer told investigators that he feared for his life and fired as Sterling's motorcycle struck the door of his police cruiser.
In December 2017, DC police determined the shooting of Sterling was unjustified and recommended Trainer be fired. In February, Sterling’s family reached a settlement agreement in the civil suit filed against the D.C. government for $3.5 million.
“Neither officer has reached out to us at all and said anything,” said Sterling’s father, Isaac Sterling. “And I would really like, at some point, to sit down and talk with these gentlemen. Because I realize that they are probably hurting, just like we are hurting.”
Isaac said while the family forgives the officers, they still want to see consequences for their actions. Federal prosecutors declined to file charges against Trainer, but Isaac Sterling wonders if Friday’s decision could prompt a second look at the case.
“I think the U.S. attorneys would do justice if they took the opportunity to look back at this case, especially now that we have had a trial board hear other evidence introduced in this case they may not have ever looked at or known about," he said.