Terrence Sterling is an unarmed police shooting victim DC activists haven't forgotten
Before the nation learned the names Tyre King, Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, activists in Washington, D.C. had been calling attention to the shooting death of yet another unarmed African-American, Terrence Sterling.
On Monday, following nearly a week of protests over Scott's death in Charlotte, North Carolina, the group Showing Up for Racial Justice renewed its efforts on behalf of 31-year-old Sterling, a man killed by the Metropolitan Police Department on the morning of Sept. 11.
Activists from a handful of organizations blocked traffic during the morning commute, near the intersection where authorities say Sterling drove his motorcycle into a police cruiser, prompting an officer to open fire.
SURJ called for transparency from the MPD, which has not released the name of the officers involved in the shooting. Samantha Master, an organizer with the Black Youth Project 100 which, together with the D.C. chapter of Black Lives Matter, backed SURJ's efforts, said protesters are using the national spotlight caused by the events in Charlotte to call for justice for Sterling.
In Charlotte, protesters appeared to have forced the release of police video showing the moment officers shot 43-year-old Scott on Sept. 20. Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, also released the name of the involved officer.
Until D.C. police take similar actions, protesters vowed to target the D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, among other elected officials.
The protest in D.C. began Monday at 4:19 a.m. Eastern, exactly two weeks to the moment Sterling was killed. Police have said Sterling drove his motorcycle into the passenger side of a police cruiser during a traffic stop prompting an unnamed officer who was exiting the passenger side door to fire his weapon at Sterling.
Protesters, who continued their rally into the busy 7:30 a.m. morning commute Monday, have demanded the release of the officer's name, any surveillance video that may show the shooting and an explanation of why the officer opened fire on an unarmed citizen. Authorities have confirmed the officer who shot Sterling did not have his body camera turned on.
Bowser has said that no other public surveillance footage shows the moment Sterling was shot. "The footage that we have reviewed at this point happens after the shooting incident," the mayor said, according to WTOP-TV.
However, the shooting did prompt the department to modify its body camera policy. Now, whenever police respond to a call or have interactions with citizens, they must give a verbal confirmation with dispatchers that their body cameras are turned on.