WASHINGTON - The D.C. police's Use of Force Review Board has determined the shooting death of Terrence Sterling in September of 2016 was unjustified and recommended Officer Brian Trainer be fired, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told FOX 5 on Tuesday.
Sterling, a 31-year-old unarmed-African American man riding on a motorcycle, was fatally shot by Officer Brian Trainer following a high-speed chase, according to authorities.
The shooting was immediately clouded in controversy as D.C. police protocol forbids officers from pursuing vehicles for a traffic violation and Trainer did not turn on his bodycam until after the shooting.
"The police department has completed their investigation into the case, it's been sent to our Use Of Force Review Board. The Use Of Force Review Board has determined that the shooting was unjustified," Newsham said on FOX 5 Tuesday morning. "So what happens now is the member has been served with what's called a notice of proposed adverse action recommending termination. And so now the employee will have an opportunity to either accept the proposed adverse action, accept the termination, or ask for a hearing."
"For the family, you know, they have been incredibly patient," Newsham continued. "This process does not happen quickly. They had to wait for the U.S. Attorney's Office to review it. It took multiple months for that occur."
Mayor Muriel Bowser, who called for Trainer's resignation after it was announced he would not be criminally charged in Sterling's death, said she wanted the city to remain as transparent through the process to keep the public's trust.
"What I hope the community understands is that we've done exactly what we said we were going to do and be transparent and follow the law," Bowser said on Tuesday.
Newsham said the Use of Force Review Board recommended Trainer be fired.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, that the police department said an officer spotted a motorcycle being driven "recklessly" near the intersection of 17th and U Streets, Northwest. It was around 4:20 a.m. and the vehicle was heading east.
Sterling, an H-VAC technician from Fort Washington, Maryland, had just left a bachelor party, according to his employer, who added he was likely heading for home via the 3rd Street Tunnel.
According to police, Sterling struck the police car as he was attempting to flee and was then shot by Trainer, who fired from the cruiser. Over the summer, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia decided to not to file charges against the officer in the Sterling case.
Sterling's family released the following statement following the announcement: "Our family has continued to pray that the truth will come to light. We are encouraged by the Use of Force Review Board's finding that Terrence's killing was unjustified, which brings us one step closer to finding justice for Terrence's Death. We will continue to stay in prayer that Brian Trainer is never in a position to take someone else's life and cause another family the pain we feel every single day."
Sources tell FOX 5's Paul Wagner that Trainer intends to go through the hearing process.