A white University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted for murder on Wednesday after he fatally shot a black driver during a traffic stop earlier this month.
Ray Tensing faces murder charges for killing 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, whom he pulled over because he was missing his front license plate.
The incident was captured in a graphic body-camera video, which shows Tensing approaching DuBose. The two appear to talk and DuBose seems to hand Tensing a bottle of alcohol.
The two struggle as Tensing tries to pull open DuBose’s door, but then Tensing rolls away from the car and pulls his gun on DuBose, shooting him fatally in the head as the man tries to drive away.
Jason Goodrich, chief of the university police, said Monday that Tensing had asked DuBose for his driver’s license, but DuBose told the officer he did not have it on him.
“This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters in a news conference Wednesday. “He should have never been a police officer.”
He went on to call the shooting “totally unwarranted.”
“I’m treating him like a murderer,” Deters said. “He purposefully killed him.”
In a separate news conference Wednesday, the victim’s mother, Audrey DuBose, said she was thankful for the video. “Seeing that video let me know that my son did absolutely nothing,” she said. “Nothing to even provoke this man … It was murder.”
Added the family’s attorney, Mark O’Mara: “If there wasn’t a video, I don’t believe [Tensing would have been indicted].”
Tensing has been placed on administrative leave following the incident. He turned himself in to police following Wednesday’s indictment.
The officer has dubiously claimed that he was dragged alongside DuBose’s car. In an audio recording of police radio communications, Tensing said: “I almost got run over by the car,” according to The New York Times. “He took off on me. I discharged one round. Shot the man in the head.”
But Deters disputed that Wednesday, calling that allegation “nonsense.”
“He was not dragged,” the prosecutor said emphatically.
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