University Cop Who Killed Unarmed Motorist Charged With Murder
Natalie Johnson /
The University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop on July 19 was indicted on murder charges Wednesday.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters called the shooting “senseless” and said he would treat the officer, Ray Tensing, “like a murderer.”
“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,” Deters said during a press conference. “This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make, totally unwarranted.”
During the press conference Deters showed the body camera footage of Tensing shooting DuBose, an unarmed black man, calling the footage “invaluable” to the investigation.
Tensing previously claimed he was “dragged by the vehicle and had to fire his weapon.” The video contradicted his account.
“He was not dragged. If you slowed down this tape, you see what happened,” he said. “People want to believe that Mr. DuBose had done something violent towards the officer. He did not.”
The footage from Tensing’s body camera shows the officer pulling over DuBose for not having a license plate. Tensing asked DuBose for his driver’s license multiple times before DuBose replied he could not find it, telling the officer, “I have a license. You can run my name.”
The officer eventually asked DuBose to take his seat belt off and began to open the driver’s side door.
“I didn’t even do nothing,” DuBose said as he pulled the door shut.
He began to turn the car on as the officer yelled “Stop!” and immediately fired on DuBose, killing him instantly with a single shot in the head.
“He purposely killed him,” Deters said. “He should never have been a police officer.”
Tensing voluntarily turned himself in following the indictment. He will be arraigned on Thursday morning and faces life in prison. The University of Cincinnati also fired Tensing after the indictment was announced.
“This office has probably reviewed upwards of hundreds of police shootings, and this is the first time that we’ve thought this is without question a murder,” Deters said. “Could you imagine the outrage you would have if this was your kid, if this was your brother, over a stop like this?”
The incident, captured from the officer’s body camera, will likely encourage momentum in Congress to outfit police with such equipment.
A viral cellphone video showing a police officer fatally shooting Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, in Sen. Tim Scott’s South Carolina hometown spurred the GOP’s sole black senator to introduce police body camera legislation earlier this week.