No Justice, Just Another Systemic Cover-Up of Police Murder: Terrence Sterling

When charges were brought against six police officers in the death of Freddy Grey, I immediately warned the people that we were being played, I suggested that we closely examine and question the sense of it. There the officers were charged with major felonies, the most serious being directed at the three Black officers who subsequently where involved in Grey's transport, which required a story that had Grey being injured after being placed in the van. This of course runs contrary to the video showing that Grey was apparently in serious pain and unable to walk as the three White police officers who had illegally pursued, tackled, and manhandled him on the ground, then picked him up and dragged him to the van. There was not only no evidence of the alleged "rough ride," but the crux of the tell relied on a supposition that Freddy Grey "must have attempted to stand" and got hurt that way. This flies in the face of the fact that Grey was thrown into the floor of the van on his stomach, with his hands cuffed behind him, in a space barely as wide and a little longer than he was tall, making it nearly impossible for him to have been "tin-canned" (tossed about by the driver accelerating and then slamming on the brakes).

The concocted story that Grey was injured in the van took attention off the conduct of the three White officers, who targeted Grey for a chase, assault, and seizure for no apparent legitimate reason. Those three officer tackled Grey and began putting their knees and collect weight on Grey's head, back, and legs, yet that being occurrence of the injury was simply dismissed beyond consideration. Yet, it is evident that Freddie Grey was in severe pain and could not walk at the point where the three White officers pick him up off the ground and drag him to the van, which the media called "escorting." At the same time the fact that the White officers had no evident legitimate reason to have been after Grey is also dismissed, as well as their insistence to act as if they did by "arresting" Grey for no reason, instead of calling an ambulance for him. The prosecution of Marlyn Mosby was designed to fail, to result in essentially making sure the three White cops got off by tarnishing and ruining the careers of three Black officers, in order to take away the taint of racist violence by White police officers. And that is exactly what happened.

In September 2016, DC police officer Brian Trainer shot and killed an unarmed Black man named Terrence Sterling, which did not get national attention, which DC police shootings of Blacks rarely do. Trainer and his un-named partner were completely cleared by the MPD from the very beginning, with the U.S. Attorney rubber-stamping everything the police did, first by not pursuing an independent investigation, and then declining to bring charges because the MPD did not provide it with sufficient evidence to do so. You would think that in itself would be a red flag for an independent investigation, as if the case needed any more, with the original police story revealing incredible holes in fact and reason. Now a revised version is even more incredulous than the first, yet, it too goes unquestioned. This is all intended to quickly close the matter as to criminal charges, which would not stop at the two cops that committed the act.

The original MPD story concerning the police killing of Terrence Sterling went like this: “At approximately 4:30 a.m., an officer observed a motorcyclist driving recklessly near the 1700 block of U Street, Northwest. A few minutes later, another MPD officer observed a motorcycle matching the same description near 3rd Street and M Street, Northwest. 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.” Then the time changed to 4:20, since Terrence Sterling was shot dead around 4:28 and more than 24-blocks away from the police "observed a motorcycle...driving recklessly." Even though the police claimed that Sterlings cycle "matched" the description of the cycle that was "observed driving recklessly," there is no evidence that police did anything than briefly "observe," there was no prior description other than it was a motorcycle. It actually appears that more than likely, the MPD never "observed" anything at 17th and U, except the back of the police station where the story was concocted.

The very fact that with all of the police coming and going from that station, with the rear being the primary vehicle entry and exit, yet no officer made any effort to do anything other than observe. There are numerous incongruities in the police reporting on this killing, the only story reported, there was no independent investigation and as always, witnesses to the contrary are totally disregarded and dismissed. This past August the U.S. Attorneys office, a colonial prosecutor in DC, declined to bring criminal charges on the basis that it "lacked evidence," because it allowed the MPD to investigate itself, it did not call for an independent investigation. In that case, of course it always "lacks evidence" against DC police when they shoot and kill Black residents, even when it is evident that the police are lying, which they always do when they kill unarmed people.

No matter how incredible and unlikely the story that the police told, there was no call for an independent investigation, even as the police change their story in order to try filling gaping wholes in the first lie, there is no need for an independent investigation. The new lie goes like this: "On September 11, 2016 Officer Brian Trainer and his partner, who was behind the wheel, were stopped at a light on U Street Northwest when Sterling pulled his motorcycle in front of their cruiser. Sterling briefly looked over his shoulder at the officers and then sped through the red light, the officer reported. Officers then chased Sterling through D.C. at high speeds. Witnesses said Sterling was driving his motorcycle at excessive and sometimes dangerous speeds--estimated at 100 mph or more, at times. Police caught up with Sterling at 3rd and M Streets NW and pulled into the intersection to try to block Sterling. Trainer took his gun out of the holster and held it at his side while he started to get out of the cruiser. Officers said that's when Sterling revved his motorcycle and rammed it into Trainer's partially opened door. The impact left a dent in the cruiser's door and a bruise on the officer's knee. Officer Trainer shot Sterling twice—once in the neck and once in the back."

All of sudden in the revised lie places Trainer and his partner somewhere on U street waiting at a light, with Sterling brazenly pulling up in front of them, looking back at them, then running the light. He then blew down U street through numerous major intersections, along with heavy traffic and pedestrian traffic, down Florida avenue to New Jersey, and then down to M, where he suddenly decided to wait for the light with the police chasing him. There was no chase in the original lie and Trainer and his partner were not assigned to U street, but to lower NW where they confronted and killed Sterling. In the latest version of the lie not only did Sterling manage to cut through heavy traffic and many always busy major intersections at speeds of 100 mph or more, now he supposedly did so while quite trunk and high on marijuana. In the original lie the police forgot to make a link between the alleged "observe" and the killing, for there was no chase, now there was a high-speed chase from somewhere on U street all the way down to M street that just involved one police car, which somehow managed to pull in front of Sterling from M as it crosses 3rd street. In the new lie Trainer opened the door and was getting out, when as in the original version, Sterling supposedly "revved" his engine and charged the vehicle with the intent of using his cycle as "battering ram." Which doesn't make sense because even a drunk man would know that a cycle is no good as a battering ram against anything, particularly a car.

Trainer rolled down the window and fired at Sterling from inside the car, shooting him twice, in the neck and in the back more than likely because Sterling was on the ground. Trainer nor his partner in the course of the alleged chase ever turned on their body cameras, and apparently their dash camera was also not on, for there is no dash cam video of this incident. There is no radio run about a high-speed chase, no other officers were involved in that alleged high-speed chase other than Trainer and his partner, none of this would have likely happened had there in fact been such a chase. What we have here is yet another systemic cover-up of police murder of a Black person, starting with the police, the U.S. Attorney, and now mayor Muriel Bowser. And we must recognize the role that local media outlets play in advancing and helping to sell police cover-ups, for every one of them only parrot the version given by the police, never asking the obvious questions. There are so many unanswered questions in the killing of Terrence Sterling not only of the police, but the U.S. Attorneys office and Department of Justice, as well as the mayor and other elected DC officials. Based on a factually baseless story officer Trainer and his partner got a pass on the killing of another human being, justified by. And based on a racist mis-characterization of this hard working young Black man as some sort of super-duper crazy criminal Black man.