Relatives of Fort Washington, Maryland motorist Terrence Sterling, killed by a D.C. police officer in September, filed a lawsuit Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, reports The Washington Post.
Sterling’s family states that officer Brian Trainer shot Sterling once in the neck and a second time in the back, according to the $50 million civil lawsuit against the District and its police department.
The fatal shooting occurred on September 11 when Trainer fired his weapon at the 31-year-old after his motorcycle struck the door of the cop’s police cruiser. The family stated that Sterling was “unarmed and posed no danger,” and Trainer did not turn on his body camera, writes the news outlet:
The lawsuit claims D.C. police “failed to properly train its officers to use” the body cameras, which the Sterling family attorneys argue “failed to ensure public safety.”
The lawsuit also alleges that D.C. police had “actual or constructive knowledge that its police officers routinely failed to properly use” the cameras. The lawsuit cites two internal memos by D.C. police, one dating back to 2015 and the other dated April 1, 2016, in which police officials acknowledged at least 15 incidents in which its officers failed to activate their cameras during on-duty interactions.
Trainer and his partner, who is unidentified, are defendants, notes the report.
The Sterling family lawyers Jason Downs and William “Billy” Murphy Jr., who also represented Freddie Gray’s family after he died in Baltimore police custody last year, requested that any D.C. officers wearing body cameras must turn on the equipment upon reporting for duty. Trainer’s camera only captured the moments after the shooting, reports NBC4 Washington.
A D.C. police spokesman told The Washington Post that the department declined comment on the pending litigation.
Prosecutors from the District’s U.S. Attorney’s Office are reviewing Sterling’s case and will determine whether to file criminal charges.