Terrence Sterling, RIP: More Than A Hashtag

By, Jacob Smith

On Sept. 11, Terrence Sterling was shot by a D.C. police officer while riding his motorcycle home after attending a bachelor party.

"At approximately 4:30 am, an officer observed a motorcyclist driving recklessly near the 1700 block of U Street, Northwest," said Metropolitan Police Department in a press release.

Sterling was spotted a few minutes later near 3rd Street and M Street, Northwest, where two officers attempted to stop him.

"When the officer was exiting the passenger side of his marked police cruiser to stop the driver, the motorcyclist intentionally drove into the passenger door and the officer fired his service weapon," stated in the
press release.

Sterling suffered bullet wounds to the back and neck and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

According to NBC 4 Washington, several witnesses dispute the events described by the press release.

"Several witnesses said the collision was unavoidable," said the news station, and even that the officer did not exit the vehicle, but instead, "rolled his window down and shot Sterling from inside the car."

The dispute only grew when the public demand for police footage was answered with a video that only captured footage after the shooting had occurred.

Metropolitan Police Department website says, "Our policy is that officers outfitted with a camera will turn it on when an interaction with a member of the public is initiated - such as the arrival on the scene of a call for service or a crime."

According to a police statement following the incident, the officers were placed on administrative leave for failing to adhere to protocol.

In the heat of the controversy, many took to Twitter to voice their questions and concerns using the hashtag #TerrenceSterling.

While groups like Black Lives Matter and citizens nationwide protest to demand answers, a community mourns the loss of a friend and family member.

"Terrence was a very good friend, we affectionately called him 'KFC' or 'chicken'," said Jerry Formey. "If you had a chance to meet him, you would know that he's a special kind of guy and all these accusations just don't fit."

Sterling was a VAC technician and was known by friends to be faithful and hardworking.

"He wasn't a troublesome person at all," said Sean Brown, a longtime friend of Sterling. "31-years-old with 20 years on the same job. Born and raised in the church and still went to church on Sunday."

Sterling was also known by his friends and co-workers for brightening up the day of those around him.

"If you had a bad day, he would come around and smile and his smile would just light up everything," said Formey. "So it's going to be hard without him."