Michigan Trooper Charged with Murder in Fatal Burger King Parking Lot Incident

KENTWOOD, Michigan – A Michigan state trooper faces charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Samuel Sterling, a Black man who was fatally struck by an unmarked police cruiser in a Burger King parking lot.

The incident took place when Detective Sgt. Brian Keely was involved in a task force operation attempting to arrest Sterling for multiple outstanding warrants, sparking a chase involving three different law enforcement agencies. Body and dashcam footage released later showed Sterling fleeing on foot while police ordered him to stop, leading to the tragic collision at the fast-food restaurant.

Sterling succumbed to his injuries at a hospital on the same day of the incident. Keely was not equipped with a body-worn camera due to his assignment on a federal task force, and the unmarked vehicle he was driving did not have an in-car camera. He was suspended following the deadly police chase.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the charges against Keely, stating that his actions were legally grossly negligent and posed a high risk of death or great bodily harm that could have been prevented. Andrica Cage, Sterling’s mother, expressed a mix of emotions upon hearing about the charges, emphasizing that the loss of her son has left her in perpetual grief.

Keely’s attorney, Marc Curtis, rebuked the charges, alleging that political pressure influenced the decision. He argued that Sterling’s death was a tragedy that could have been avoided if Sterling had complied with the detectives’ commands. Despite the legal proceedings, the pain and sorrow linger for Sterling’s family, underscoring the devastating impact of his untimely death.