DC police make changes after officer’s body camera off in police-involved shooting

WASHINGTON — There is now a change to how D.C. police officers are dispatched after an officer involved in a fatal shooting failed to turn on his body-worn camera.

A D.C. police officer and his partner are on administrative leave as police investigate whether he was justified in shooting Terrance Sterling, 31, Sunday morning near the intersection of 17th and U streets.

Sterling was driving recklessly and tried to drive away and hit the police cruiser, police said. He died from his injuries.

“His body-worn camera did not begin recording until after his weapon was discharged. This is clearly not the intent of MPD policies,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.

After meeting with the head of the D.C.’s 911 center, Mayor Muriel Bowser said effective immediately, all dispatchers will remind officers to turn on their body-worn cameras, or BWCs, when they are relaying information about the emergency call.

The policy also will reflect officers’ new obligation to acknowledge the reminder, Bowser said at a news conference Thursday.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham recalls in the last month the department has had 55,000 camera activations and 10 instances where officers should have activated their camera and did not.

“In each of those instances, we’re going to take a look at it … if they should have done, it will be corrected,” Newsham said.

The department is reviewing those 10 instances and will determine if the officers should be disciplined.

D.C. police has almost 1,300 body-worn cameras with officers on the streets, Newsham said.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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