On Wednesday (July 29) A University of Cincinnati officer was indicted on a murder charge after shooting a motorist during a traffic stop.
The shooting took place on July 19 when Officer Ray Tensing pulled over 43 year old motorist Samuel DuBose after spotting he had no license plate (required by Ohio Law). Tensing handed himself in to authorities shortly after news of the indictment broke.
Joe Deters (Hamilton County Prosecutor) announced the indictment at a news conference, explaining, “This is without question a murder”.
The shooting was partially caught on a body camera, and footage from that camera was released on Wednesday. The footage shows Tensing asking for DuBose’s licence, and then appears to show him attempting to gain entry in to the car. DuBose, holds the door and leans away, the camera then becomes shaky and a shot can be heard going off, followed by what looks like DuBose’s body slumped in his seat.
Tensing alleges that he shot DuBose (one shot in the head) after being dragged along by the car “I think I’m OK. He was just dragging me. I thought I was going to get run over. I was trying to stop him” but prosecutor Deters argues that this is untrue and deems it “nonsense” explaining “He fell backwards after he shot [DuBose) in the head”.
Tensing has been fired by the University of Cincinnati after his indictment and could face life in jail if convicted. Although Stewart Mathews (Tensing’s attorney) originally failed to pass comment after the indictment, he has now gone on to explain that he doesn’t believe that there should be an indictment, but expected it due to the current “political climate”.
Mathews told CNN that he believed Tensing truly feared for his life “The guy jams the keys in the ignition…Turns the car on, jams it in the drive and mashes the accelerator. He wasn’t slowly pulling away. [Tensing] feared for his life. He thought he was going to be sucked under the car that was pulling away from him. He thought he was going to get sucked under and killed.”
Deters vehemently disagrees with Mathews account, insisting the Tensing was not dragged as DuBose “was simply slowly rolling away. That’s all he did”.
This is the first time that an officer in Cincinnati has been charged for murder while on duty (according to the Cincinnati Inquirer). The murder charge will be supported by a count of involuntary manslaughter.
Deters 100% agrees with the action “When you see this, you will not believe how quickly he pulls his gun and shoots him. It’s so senseless”. Speaking further Deters said that Tensing “purposely killed him” and “should never have been a police officer”. When asked by a reporter whether he believed that Tensing had tried to mislead the police, Deters replied “Yes…I think he was making an excuse for a purposeful killing” further going on to explain “I think he lost his temper because Mr Dubose wouldn’t get out of his car…I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make, totally unwarranted”.
“People want to believe that Mr. DuBose had done something violent towards the officer… he did not. He did not at all. I feel so sorry for his family and what they lost, and I feel sorry for the community, too… I realize what this was going to mean to our community, and it really broke my heart because it’s just bad” Prosecutor Deters said.
DuBose’s mother Audrey DuBose has praised the indictment, telling reporters “I thought it was going to be covered up” but she is massively grateful “everything was uncovered… I want everybody to just lift up their heads in prayer, and thank God because this one did not go unsolved and hidden… We’re going to continue to fight together with God.”
DuBose’s sister Terina Allen says that she always believed that the video would prove her brother innocence “My brother is one year younger than me, and I’ve known him his whole life. And I’ve known him to never ever to run from a police officer. His record, as bad as anyone wants to make it, proves he has no problem being arrested,” she said.
The families attorney Mark O’Mara, although happy about the indictment said that he believed the indictment would not have happened if there hadn’t been footage of the shooting “We’ve now made a huge first step because — in a situation where sometimes people believe that officers are not held accountable for their actions — in this case, one is being held accountable. So Cincinnati is showing the rest of us how to do this right”.
Becky A @Bex18W