A grand jury indicted a University of Cincinnati police officer for shooting a motorist during a routine traffic stop July 19. The decision came after 12 citizens who live in Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is the largest of more than 20 cities and dozens of other communities, reviewed evidence all day Monday as part of a grand-jury investigation into the incident.
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced the charge against Police Officer Ray Tensing and blasted the officer over the death saying the shooting was the most asinine act he ever saw a police officer make. Tensing was immediately terminated and turned himself in. He is set to be arraigned in court Thursday morning. The University of Cincinnati shut down its campus and canceled classes Wednesday morning in anticipation of the announcement. Ohio Highway Patrol troopers were seen arriving on campus by late morning.
Samuel Dubose, the victim was pulled over in his 1998 Honda Accord near the university campus for missing a front license plate. The officer’s body camera captured video of the shooting that prosecutors say was crucial to the investigation. The Cincinnati Enquirer reviewed the video which indicated DuBose was shot to death after a routine exchange. There was no sign of aggressive behavior toward the officer. Tensing also faced a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
The prosecutor called stopping DuBose for a missing front license plate a “chicken crap stop.” Deters released the video recording from the body camera after first showing it to the victim’s family and later released it Wednesday following the indictment. The recording shows the officer asking Dubose about a bottle he sees on the floor of his car, and Dubose hands it to him. Deters slammed Tensing’s statement that he was dragged by the car and instead said that Tensing fell backwards after shooting Dubose in the head.
He wasn’t dealing with someone who was wanted for murder, OK? He was dealing with someone who didn’t have a front license plate,” Deters said of Tensing, who joined the university force in April 2014. “I mean, this is, in the vernacular, a pretty chicken-crap stop, all right? And — I could use harsher words.”
Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell on Wednesday asked for calm as the case moves ahead. The incident is only the latest in a number of high-profile shootings by police across the country — drawing protests and sharp criticism. The victim’s family has announced they retained Mark O’Mara as attorney; he previously represented George Zimmerman. Tensing has been a police officer for a little more than four years. He joined the village of Greenhills police force part-time in April 2011. He has been a full-time officer since March 2013.