Prosecutor: Officer Ray Tensing indicted on murder charge in death of Sam DuBose
UC police officer turns himself in!
A grand jury has indicted University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing on a murder charge in the July 19 shooting death of Sam DuBose, Prosecutor Joe Deters announced. Tensing is also indicted on a voluntary manslaughter charge.
Deters called the lethal use of force by Tensing asinine, unwarranted and senseless in a news conference Wednesday.
“I have been doing this for 30 years, and this is the most asinine act by a police officer I have ever seen,” Deters said.
“I think he lost his temper because DuBose would not get out of the car,” Deters told reporters. “You won’t believe how quickly he pulls his gun and shoots him in the head.
“This doesn’t happen in the United States. Maybe in Afghanistan, but not in the United States,” Deters said.
He echoed what members of the DuBose family had been saying for the past 10 days, that their loved one did nothing to provoke his death at the hands of an officer of the law.
“I’m treating him like a murderer,” Deters said.
Deters showed the officer’s body camera video at the conference, which captured the moments leading up to the shooting, the shooting itself and the immediate aftermath.
Tensing had activated his body camera video while in the cruiser as he pulled DuBose over on Rice in Mount Auburn for a missing front plate on July 19.
VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: Body cam video, shortened version
The single shot to the head happened quickly as the car began to move away from officer Tensing, who told DuBose just before the gunshot “I still haven’t figured out if you have a license,”
Tensing claimed in the incident report that he was dragged by the car DuBose was driving and he was forced to fire the shot that hit DuBose in the head, killing him.
Tensing was never dragged, according to Deters and the video evidence. Deters said the officer fell backwards as he fired the fatal shot.
“Mr. DuBose simply did not follow simple, non-violent commands. He was subdued, the cop had his license plate number. I mean, it was so unnecessary for this to have occurred,” Deters said.
As it occurred, two other UC officers arrived as backup. Deters indicated his office is looking at what was said in support of Tensing’s claim that he was dragged and forced to fire.
A warrant was issued for Tensing’s arrest, and Tensing turned himself in around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
If convicted, Tensing faces 15 years to life in prison.
Tensing is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 10 a.m. Thursday before Judge Megan Shanahan.
“It’s just bad what he did, and it just shouldn’t have happened,” Deters said. “I was shocked. I was shocked and I realized, I realized what this was going to mean to our community and it really broke my heart.”
Deters also took UC to task, suggesting the standards for the level of training do not reach a level this city expects.
“I told UC that Cincinnati police ought to have a District 6 and make it the University of Cincinnati because I just don’t, look, I graduated from the university twice, it’s a wonderful university, I love their president, but they’re not cops,” Deters said.
Deters said he discussed his feelings about that with Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.
For all the protests calling for release of the video right away in the early days of the investigation, Deters held firm. He said the whole thing might have been compromised had the video been shown too soon.
He and others acknowledged without the video, which he had described as a major piece of evidence, the truth of what occurred on July 19 would have likely been reduced to either accepting or rejecting the officer’s account of it.
After Deters’ conference, Samuel DuBose’s family spoke to the media.
Asked if she could forgive Tensing, Samuel’s mother Aubrey DuBose said that if Tensing asked, “I can forgive him, I can forgive anyone.”
Audrey DuBose said that Tensing’s final judgement will come from God.
“I just want everyone to lift up their heads in prayer and thank God because this one didn’t go unsolved and hidden,” Audrey DuBose said.
Sam’s brother Aubrey called for peace.
I’m a lifetime Cincinnatian, I remember 2001. We don’t want none of that, that shouldn’t happen,” Aubrey DuBose said.
The family said the indictment was key for them to feel like justice is being pursued.
“I’m angry, but I’m as pleased as I can be that we’re actually going to get some of justice for Sam,” Sam’s sister Terina Allen said.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, UC President Santa Ono and City Manager Harry Black spoke about 2:45 p.m.
City leaders called for calm, stating there is no reason for violence after the indictment.
“There’s obviously a reason for people to be angry,” Mayor John Cranley said. “The family is in mourning, but also wants to honor the spirit of Samuel’s life.”
City leaders expressed their sympathy to Samuel DuBose’s family and said the city of Cincinnati will move forward.
Cranley said our community showed a great deal of integrity.
“Today’s action by the county prosecutor comes during a difficult time for our city. I urge everyone to trust the judicial process will reach a fair and just outcome. I met with the DuBose family this morning to express my condolences. They believe, like I do, that the best way to honor the memory of Sam DuBose is to remain calm and advocate for positive change,” Cranley said.
Bishop Bobby Hilton said there is no reason for any violent acts in the community for the killing of DuBose.
“Because of the leadership of this community — the mayor, police chief and the actions of Joe Deters — a lot of solace was brought to the community,” Hilton said. “As much (solace) as can be expected where there could have been a lot of pain.”
Hilton said he was proud of what happened in Cincinnati with regard to the indictment of Tensing and the nonviolent response from the community.
“When we protest, we feel like we are not being heard, (like) there is injustice,” Hilton said. “I feel out of this situation should be a proud moment because the city has come together on every level, including the prosecutors office.”
Hilton said there is no reason to be violent. He said the community has witnessed fairness and justice so far in the shooting death of DuBose.
“Other cities did not get this. Ferguson did not get this. Baltimore did not get this,” Hilton said. “What happened in 2001 prepared us for this day.”
While officials said they support the rights of anyone who wants to peacefully protest, the Police Department will not tolerate lawlessness, should it start to occur.
“This is a tragedy for our community and our hearts go out to the DuBose family. We recognize that this is a difficult time for our entire community and we are appreciative of Prosecutor Deters and his office for the timely conclusion of their investigation. CPD is committed to protecting our city and our citizens. While we are hopeful for the peaceful protesting of today’s decision, we are operationally prepared to respond. Violence and lawlessness will not be tolerated,” Blackwell said.
Cranly and Ono said they met with the DuBose family Wednesday morning.
One said Tensing has been fired and a review of the university’s police department has begun.
Ono said in light of the officer-involved incident, the university will take a deep review of training, staffing and hiring policies in the 72 officer force.
“University college campus safety policing is very, very different from metropolitan policing. There’s a different demographic of the people involved. It’s really a specialized field,” Ono said.
UC’s Uptown and Medical campus offices closed at 11 a.m. Wednesday, in advance of Deters’ announcement.
“This decision is made with an abundance of caution in anticipation of today’s announcement of the Hamilton County grand jury’s decision regarding the July 19 officer-involved shooting of Samuel DuBose and the release of the officer’s body camera video. We realize this is a challenging time for our university community,” the school said in an email.
Several Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles arrived on campus shortly before it closed, and UC police officers barricaded some streets leading into campus.
Several restaurants near campus closed as well.
DuBose was laid to rest Tuesday after a funeral service attended by several Cincinnati leaders, including its mayor and police chief.
Friends and family remembered DuBose as a man who made others laugh.
“If we can come together in here, we must come together out there,” the Rev. Ennis Tait said.
Black Lives Matter said it intends to respond with a rally at the Hamilton County courthouse Wednesday evening.