Sterling was shot and killed on September 11 after hitting a police motorcycle with his vehicle. Conflicted accounts of the crash have come from witnesses and police, with police saying that he intentionally hit the motorcycle and witnesses claiming that the crash was unavoidable.
The body cam footage does not show the shooting itself but shows the aftermath. Sterling can be seen on the ground and bleeding as a woman screams in the background and an officer attempts CPR.
“Come on, man, keep breathing,” an officer is heard shouting. “Look at me. Keep looking at me.”
The video ends shortly after the sound of an approaching ambulance can be heard.
According to a statement from the district, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser authorized the release of the footage because it was “in the public interest and consistent with the goals of the District’s [body-worn camera] program to create broader accountability between law enforcement and communities, and to maintain open and transparent government.”
The D.C. Police Union protested the release of the video.
“This decision places these officers in danger of misguided retaliation fueled by a false media narrative, and is a completely unacceptable action,” Chairman Matthew Mahl said in a letter to members. “The lives of our members are not pawns in some political game, to be thrown to anti-police special interest groups in the pursuit of an unlikely re-election bid for a flawed administration.”
On Wednesday, the D.C. district medical examiner ruled Sterling’s death a homicide. The autopsy results concluded that Sterling died from a gunshot wound to the neck and back.