Cincinnati Cop Charged With Murder in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

WARNING: The body-cam video may be disturbing to some viewers.


Here are the latest developments:

  • Officer Ray Tensing’s body-cam footage has been released (see above).
  • The University of Cincinnati fired Tensing following the indictment. Tensing, who has turned himself in, is due to appear in court Thursday morning. Hamilton County sheriff’s spokesman Michael Robison has told Associate Press that Tensing will be jailed overnight before his court appearance.
  • Samuel DuBose’s family held a press conference in which his mother, Audrey DuBose, said, “I can forgive him. I can forgive anybody. God forgave us.”
  • Mark O’Mara, an attorney representing the DuBose family, has asked the community to respond in a “peaceful and nonaggressive” manner to the news of Officer Tensing’s indictment. In 2013 O’Mara represented George Zimmerman when he was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin.
  • Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said in a statement, “We wanted the just, fair thing to be done, we wanted the truth to come out.” He also noted that the Hamilton County Prosecutor was “not pushing an agenda, but doing the right thing.” Cranley told reporters Tuesday that “everyone has the right to peacefully protest, but we will not tolerate lawlessness.”
  • On Thursday morning Officer Tensing plead not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. The judge set his bond at $1 million.

Officials in Hamilton County, Ohio, released body-camera footage on Wednesday that shows the shooting death of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man pulled over by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing on July 19 for driving without a front license plate.

The video was released as Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced that Tensing would be indicted on a charge of murder.

“I mean, it was so unnecessary for this to occur,” Deters said when he announced the indictment. “This doesn’t happen in the United States…People don’t get shot for a traffic stop unless they’re violent toward a police officer. And he wasn’t.” Later, Deters added that what happened was “without question a murder.”

According to reports, the 43-year-old DuBose didn’t produce identification after the traffic stop, and a scuffle ensued. Tensing had claimed he was dragged by DuBose’s car, but Deters said in his press conference that wasn’t the case.

DuBose’s death comes on the heels of increased national scrutiny around police brutality. According to the Washington Post’s analysis of police shootings, 555 people have been killed by police in 2015 thus far. The arming of campus police officers has also been on the rise: Seventy-five percent of four-year private and public colleges had armed officers during the 2011-12 school year, up from 68 percent in 2004-05, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

At one point Deters said the city should provide police services for the university.

“I just think [the Cincinnati Police Department] would be better suited to do this than university police,” Deters said. “When you led to a murder like this, a shooting in the head where your stop was no front license plate—I mean, that’s crazy. And if you see this family, how they’re suffering from this, it’s ridiculous that this happened.”

Meanwhile, the University of Cincinnati canceled all classes on the Uptown and Medical campuses starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday, bracing for a protest even before the grand jury decision was announced and the video was released.

Lindsay Scribner, a member of the UC Students Against Injustice, says her group is taking protest cues from the community and Black Lives Matter Cincinnati.

“The community isn’t planning anything violent, but the police are expecting, waiting and provoking,” Scribner told Mother Jones. “They are criminalizing the community, especially black members before they even do anything wrong. I’ve seen SWAT members, university police, Cincinnati Police, and Ohio State patrol men. They have everyone out here waiting for some black person to screw up.”