White police officer indicted in shooting death of unarmed black man
A white police officer has been indicted on a murder charge for killing an unarmed African-American man in Cincinnati, Ohio, in what a prosecutor called “a senseless, asinine shooting” during a minor traffic stop.
Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was indicted Wednesday for the shooting death of Samuel Dubose on July 19, according to the Hamilton County prosecuting attorney Joseph Deters, who released a much anticipated video of the shooting.
The prosecutor said it was the first time such a charge had been leveled against an officer in Hamilton County.
“It was a senseless, asinine shooting,” Deters said at a news conference, using stark terms to denounce the killing, the officer’s claims and the officer himself.
“This doesn’t happen in the United States, OK?” he said. “This might happen in Afghanistan. People don’t get shot for a traffic stop.”
“This office has probably reviewed 100 police shootings, and this is the first time we’ve thought, ‘This is without question a murder,’” he said.
The video shows Tensing repeatedly asks Dubose to show his driver’s license. Dubose says several times that he has a license but does not have it with him.
The officer then starts to open the driver’s door and tells Dubose to remove his seatbelt; Dubose pulls the door closed again and restarts his car to drive away.
Officer Tensing reaches into the car with his left hand; he yells “stop” twice; he pulls out his gun with his right hand and fatally shoots the black man in his head. The car then rolls down the street before coming to a crashing halt a short distance away.
“People want to believe that Mr. Dubose had done something violent toward the officer,” Mr. Deters added. “He did not.”
Even if the car had begun to drive away, no use of force was called for, and certainly not use of deadly force, Deters said.
Several hundred people came out Wednesday to protest for about 90 minutes outside the Hamilton County Courthouse, chanting “Black lives matter” and “I am Sam Dubose.”
Religious leaders, city officials and members of Dubose’s family have called for peace in Cincinati, hoping not to see the kind of violence that shook other cities that witnessed the death of unarmed African-Americans by white police officers.
Officer Tensing “was wrong, and when we’re wrong, we have to be held accountable,” Jeffrey Blackwell, the Cincinnati police chief, said on Wednesday.