Officials have released footage showing the moments after a metropolitan police officer shot and killed an unarmed black motorcyclist in Washington D.C. this month.
The D.C. mayor’s office released the video from the officer’s body camera after protesters at a Monday demonstration demanded answers and more transparency from police over the shooting, according to local reports. The protest was held at the intersection where Terrence Sterling, 31, was fatally shot on Sept. 11, in the neighborhood of Mount Vernon Square.
The graphic footage below only shows the moments that followed the shooting because the involved officer did not activate his body camera until after he shot Sterling, a press release from the mayor’s office said. D.C. officials later identified the shooting officer as 27-year-old Brian Trainer, who has been in the force for four years.
Protesters held another demonstration in front of D.C. police headquarters on Tuesday afternoon, demanding justice for Sterling.
WARNING: This video is extremely graphic:
When the five-minute video begins, Sterling can be seen on the ground, still sitting atop his motorcycle, as another officer stands over his body. Blood can be seen around Sterling.
The camera rolls as the officer attempts first aid on Sterling, removing his vest and helmet in the process. A woman off-camera can be heard screaming, “Oh my God! He didn’t do anything. Are you serious? He’s not moving!”
An officer attempting chest compressions pleads for Sterling to keep breathing. “Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me...,” the officer can be heard saying. “Keep looking at me, bud. Keep looking at me, OK?”
As the compressions continue, Trainer holds a white material to Sterling’s neck, in an attempt to stop the bleeding. The video ends after an off-camera voice tells Trainer to “get off” Sterling.
Paramedics took Sterling to the Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a press release from the D.C. government. Sterling had just left a bachelor party and was heading home around 4:20 a.m. when the incident occurred, Fox 5 DC reported.
Immediately after the Sept. 11 shooting, D.C. Metropolitan police officials reported that Sterling was driving erratically and intentionally drove into the passenger side of a marked police car during the incident. They said the involved officer left the passenger side of the vehicle and shot Sterling in an attempt to stop him.
Days later, however, police officials told NBC4 Washington that witnesses said the collision appeared unavoidable and that Sterling did not intentionally strike the police cruiser. Witnesses also told police that the involved officer rolled down his window and shot Sterling from inside the cruiser.
Kandace Simms told FOX 5 DC she was at a stop light at the time of the shooting and that the police car and motorcycle met “at the same exact time.”
“The motorcycle was trying to speed off and drive away, but he couldn’t because he was kind of caught in between the sidewalk at the curb and the police car,” Simms told the news station. “So the police were trying to open the passenger side door and he couldn’t because the motorcycle was right there, and I guess when he couldn’t open the door, he rolled down his window and shot twice.”
Trainer did not sustain any injuries during the incident and was placed on administrative leave, as is protocol following an officer-involved shooting.
In an official statement published Tuesday afternoon, the Washington D.C. Police Union “strongly” condemned the mayor’s decision to release the footage of the shooting before the conclusion of the investigation. It called the decision to release the officer’s name “reckless to the extreme.”
“This decision places these officers in danger of misguided retaliation fueled by a false media narrative, and is a completely unacceptable action,” union chairman Matthew N. Mahl said in the statement.
The demonstrations held for Sterling in D.C. echo the sentiments of protests held nationwide, condemning the slew of recent, high-profile officer-involved shootings on black men.