$50 Million Lawsuit Filed Against D.C. in Fatal Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Motorcyclist

Lawyers for the family of an unarmed black motorcyclist shot and killed by a Washington, D.C., police officer in September filed a $50 million lawsuit against the District and the Metropolitan Police Department in Superior Court.

They allege Metropolitan Police Department Officer Brian Trainer shot 31-year-old Terrence Sterling in the back Sept. 11 even though he didn't pose a threat to the officer or anyone else.

Police said Sterling, of Fort Washington, Maryland, intentionally rammed the passenger-side door of a police car while trying to flee a traffic stop.

Witnesses have disputed the police department's account of the incident and said the crash was unavoidable.

The complaint says police violated general orders by getting in the path of a vehicle, increasing the chance of deadly voice. It also claims Trainer used excessive force.

Trainer, a four-year veteran of the department, was wearing a body camera, but he did not turn it on until after the shooting, police said. The complaint says Trainer wasn't properly trained to use the camera.

Sterling died of wounds to the neck and back, according to the city's chief medical examiner, who did not detail how many times Sterling was shot.

It is not clear what Sterling was doing in Washington in the early-morning hours of Sept. 11. Police said officers stopped Sterling after they received a report of a motorcyclist driving erratically.

Contact Us