By Ian Simpson


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The family of an unarmed black man fatally shot by a District of Columbia police officer wants answers to unresolved questions in the case, which has sparked protests in the U.S. capital, an attorney said on Thursday.


Terrence Sterling, 31, of Fort Washington, Maryland, was shot early on Sept. 11 after police said he intentionally crashed his motorcycle into a police cruiser. The District of Columbia's medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide.


Sterling's death has triggered demonstrations in the U.S. capital, which is nearly half African-American. The protests have come amid racially charged anger over police shootings across the United States.


"The family of Terrence Sterling deserves better. This community deserves justice," Jason Downs, a Baltimore attorney representing the family, said at a news conference.

City officials released police body camera footage of the aftermath of the shooting on Tuesday. Mayor Muriel Bowser has identified the officer who shot Sterling as Brian Trainer, 27, who has been with the Metropolitan Police Department for four years.

Trainer did not switch on his camera until a few minutes after the shooting. Downs said he and the family had seen footage that had not been publicly released showing a police union representative arriving about six minutes after the camera was activated.

Downs, flanked by Sterling family members, said they wanted to know if the representative was called before an ambulance was summoned and if Trainer's partner had a body camera. Trainer and his partner have been put on paid administrative leave.

The family also wants to know if any street surveillance video and satellite security footage of Washington show the shooting, he said.

There also are unanswered questions about why officers had chased Sterling, Downs said. Police had seen him riding his motorcycle erratically and pursued him for several blocks before he was shot.

A spokeswoman for Bowser did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After the shooting, police revised their policy on use of cameras. Officers now are required to confirm with dispatchers that their cameras are on when they respond to calls.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Dan Grebler)