Statement from Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, regarding the US Attorney’s Office declining prosecution in the case of Terrence Sterling:
"My heart goes out to the family and friends of Terrence Sterling, who for months have sought answers regarding his death. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child or a sibling and then waiting more than nine months only to be told there will be no recourse through the judicial system. It is a tragedy that this exchange - which at minimum broke several MPD policies and practices - resulted in the loss of Mr. Sterling's life.
This outcome is painful because a young African-American man lost his life and because incidents such as this erode community trust in law enforcement. The District is not immune to concerns around use of force.
Police officers are sworn to protect us. They are trusted with the power to make life-changing decisions in seconds, including to take a life. That’s why this hurts so much – and I don't believe is representative of so many of the men and women serving in the MPD nor is it who we are working to be as a city.
I would be remiss if I did not express my frustration that the District residents to whom I am accountable do not have complete control over our criminal justice system – it is wrong that federal entities prosecute local crimes. This further compounds the ability to heal and move forward through legislative oversight. Meaningful criminal justice reform is intimately tied to our autonomy as a community."
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