A second Washington DC police officer has been placed on leave and is under investigation in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.
Police claim Terrence Sterling, 31, was fatally shot after ramming his motorcycle into a police cruiser. Officers say they spotted Stirling’s motorcycle driving erratically at around 4 a.m. on September 11th.
A witness, however, told Fox 5 that Sterling was trapped and trying to get away when he was shot dead by police:
According to witness Kandace Simms–who was sitting in her car waiting for the light to change– Sterling rode his bike down the left lane next to her, and he suddenly collided with a Metropolitan Police Department cruiser. Simms says the cruiser pulled into the intersection in what appeared to be an attempt to block the motorcycle, and the collision in her opinion was unavoidable. She tells FOX 5 Sterling then revved the engine, and appeared to be trying to find a way to drive off when the window on the passenger side of the marked cruiser rolled down, and the officer in the passenger seat fired two shots. Simms says she heard no commands from the officer, and neither the police car’s lights nor the siren were on. Sterling, she says, immediately fell off the bike and she could see blood coming from the area around his helmet.
Several witnesses also told NBC News that Sterling was not trying to ram the police cruiser at the time of the shooting.
Several witnesses said the collision was unavoidable and Sterling did not intentionally strike the cruiser. They also said the officer was not trying to get out of his car, but instead rolled his window down and shot Sterling from inside the car after the crash.
The officer did not turn on his body camera until after the shooting.
Sterling’s employer says the motorcyclist had just left a bachelor party at the time of the shooting.