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Ohio College Police Officer Indicted for Murder

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He is charged with shooting to death an unarmed black motorist following a traffic stop

By Frederick H. Lowe

An Ohio grand jury on Wednesday indicted a white University of Cincinnati police officer for murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist he stopped on a street near the campus.

Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecutor, described the deadly actions of Ray Tensing, who has been a member of the University of Cincinnati police force since April 2014, in shocking language.

The indictment occurred on a day full of surprises for some.

A grand jury has indicted Ray Tensing, a University of Cincinnati police officer, for murder.
An Ohio grand jury has indicted Ray Tensing, a University of Cincinnati police officer, for murder.

The family of Samuel Dubose, the victim who was shot to death July 19, hired Attorney Mark O’Mara, who successfully defended George Zimmerman in the shooting death of an unarmed Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. A jury of women acquitted Zimmerman in Martin’s shooting to death.

The death of 17-year-old Martin was the catalyst for the #BlackLives Matter movement, which has created nationwide awareness of unarmed African-American men and boys being shot to death by police and people like Zimmerman who act like the police.

The shooting death, which was recorded, occurred when Tensing stopped Dubose in his 1998 Honda Accord for not displaying a front license plate.  Tensing ordered Dubose to show his driver’s license. Dubose told him that he didn’t have his driver’s license with him.

“Tensing tried to open the car door as Mr. Dubose was trying to close the door,” Deters said. “As Mr. Dubose was closing the car door, he was turning the ignition back on. Tensing reached inside the car and he also draws his gun, firing a single shot to Dubose’s head as the car begins to move.” Dubose, the father of 10, died at the scene.

Initially, Tensing accused Dubose’s car of dragging him and that is why he fired the fatal shot.

But Tensing’s body camera, which he turned on at approximately 6:30 p.m., told a different story.

Samuel Dubose
Samuel Dubose

Deters called Dubose’s shooting death, “an asinine act which did not have to occur. There was no reason for this. 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. I mean, this is, in the vernacular, a pretty chicken-crap stop, all right? And—I could use harsher words.”

Tensing, who was fired, is 26. He was held on a $1 million bond before being released.

Dubose’s death underscores the dangers African Americans face from police during a traffic stop. Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old native of Naperville, Ill., was stopped and arrested by Texas State Trooper Bryan Encina in Hempstead, Texas, on July 22 for not signaling before making a lane change.

A video showed Encina pointing a taser at the unarmed Bland and throwing her face down to the ground. Bland was found dead in the Waller County Jail, three days after her arrest, where she was being held on a $50,000 bond.

Law enforcement officials claim Brand, who was on her way to take a job at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college, committed suicide.

Mark O'Mara shakes hands with George Zimmerman after his acquittal
Mark O’Mara shakes hands with George Zimmerman after his acquittal

Tensing is not a Cincinnati police officer; his indictment follows the indictment of six Baltimore police officers in the April 12th death of Freddie Gray. Gray died from a spinal cord injury while unsecured in the back of Baltimore police van.

On July 23, Mary O’Callaghan, a cop with the Los Angeles Police Department, was sentenced to 16 months in prison, after being convicted of assault in the death of Alesia Thomas, a 35-year-old black woman she had taken into custody.

Thomas, who complained she could not breathe, lost consciousness in the back of O’Callaghan’s squad car in July 2012 and died.

A video showed O’Callaghan hitting Thomas in the throat and kicking her in the groin while attempting to put her in leg restraints.

 

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