Cincinnati, Oh (07/29/15) - A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in what a prosecutor called “a senseless, asinine shooting” during a minor traffic stop. It was the first time such a charge had been leveled against an officer in the city. The Hamilton County prosecuting attorney, Joseph T. Deters, released a much-anticipated video of the shooting of Samuel Dubose, which he described as crucial evidence that the officer, Ray Tensing, had lied about being dragged by Mr. Dubose’s car. A grand jury, Mr. Deters announced, indicted Officer Tensing on a murder charge, punishable by life in prison, and a voluntary manslaughter charge.
“It was a senseless, asinine shooting,” Mr. Deters said at a news conference, using stark terms to denounce the July 19 episode, Officer Tensing’s claims about it and the officer himself. “This office has probably reviewed upwards of 100 police shootings, and this is the first time we’ve thought, “This is without question a murder. He wasn’t dealing with someone who was wanted for murder,” he said. “He was dealing with someone who didn’t have a front license plate. This was, in the vernacular, a pretty chicken-crap stop.”
The death of Mr. Dubose, who was black, at the hands of Officer Tensing, who is white, joined a string of recent episodes — in Staten Island; Cleveland; Baltimore; North Charleston, S.C.; and Ferguson, Mo., among others — that have raised hard questions about law enforcement’s use of force and the role of race in policing. Video cameras have recorded many of the episodes and nonlethal encounters — like the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died three days later in a Texas jail cell — offering disturbing evidence of the confrontations that often contradicts the accounts of people involved.“I’m so thankful that everything was uncovered,” Mr. Dubose’s mother, Audrey, said at a separate news conference. “I though it was going to be covered up.”