Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Washington, DC, Motorcyclist Terrence Sterling Is Fighting to Keep His Job

Terrence Sterling
Terrence Sterling
Photo: Family photo

It takes a certain type of gall to kill an unarmed man in a shooting that a police department internal review has already determined to be unjustified and still be determined to fight for your job.

But I suppose anything is possible when you’re a white police officer, and so that is exactly what Washington, D.C., Police Officer Brian Trainer is trying to do, Fox 5 DC reports.

Trainer shot and killed Terrence Sterling, an unarmed black motorcyclist, during a traffic stop back in September 2016, and on Wednesday he actually stood before the D.C. police trial board to petition for his job, pleading not guilty to the three charges he faces.


Sterling was riding his motorcycle in Northwest D.C. when he was shot. Trainer claimed that he feared for his life when he fired at Sterling—a claim that an internal investigation has effectively called bullshit.

Trainer claimed that Sterling had swiped the police cruiser on his bike, effectively pinning Trainer’s leg between the door and the vehicle. Investigators ruled that Trainer’s injuries were not consistent with having been pinned. In fact, Fox 5 DC reports, one investigator noted that he believed the injury to Trainer’s leg occurred as he was attempting to render aid to Sterling after the shooting.

There is also the little fact that before Trainer’s bodycam was turned off, Trainer told an officer on the scene that he was not injured.

Since the shooting, Trainer has been on paid administrative leave. Trainer’s hearing before the trial board is expected to continue through Friday, and I suppose we’ll see what kind of justice is brought in this case.


Sterling’s family reached a $3.5 million settlement with D.C. in the death earlier this year, but Trainer still evaded criminal charges in the death.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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So, like...the police department says this was unjustified, but the actual judicial system is all like “Nah, fam; we good.” Am I reading this right?

In the words of an old Chinese curse: May Trainer get everything he’s ever wished for. May he find what he’s looking for...