DC officer’s body camera wasn’t on during fatal shooting

WASHINGTON — The D.C. police officer who shot and killed a motorcyclist early Sunday was wearing a body camera, officials said Monday — but it apparently wasn’t turned on.

The officer shot Terrence Sterling, 31, of Fort Washington, about 4:30 a.m. Sunday at M and 3rd Streets Northwest after police said Sterling intentionally drove his motorcycle into the officer’s police cruiser door as the officer attempted to exit the car.

“Our preliminary review does not show any camera footage before the shooting,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The footage that we have reviewed at this point happens after the shooting incident.”

What footage exists has been turned over to the U.S. attorney’s office for an investigation, officials said.

“We’re fortunate here in the District of Columbia — we do have a federal independent agency at the U.S. attorney’s office that reviews all of our shootings,” said Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham.

Nearly 1,300 D.C. police officers have been issued equipment for body-worn cameras. On rare occasions, officers have forgotten to turn on the cameras, officials said.

Over the past 30 days, 55,577 videos captured 11,096 hours or footage. Newsham said in about 10 instances officers forgot to activate the cameras.

“As with any new technology, this is new for the officers … it’s not something they do in the normal course of business,” Newsham said. “So, we’re actively going out there and trying to remind our officers to put the body cameras ‘on’ when they’re supposed to.”

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