Samuel DuBose, a 43-year-old African-American man, was killed by a white police officer, Ray Tensing on July 19 during a traffic stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, when the unarmed DuBose was pulled over because his car was missing a front license plate. Now the family of the slain DuBose are demanding that police release a video of the fatal shooting incident, recorded by Tensing’s body camera.
But prosectors and police are holding back the video, perhaps afraid for the public reaction — because what the video reveals, according to the city’s own police chief, is “not good.”
“We’re concerned clearly. We’re concerned about what could happen in our city,” Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said earlier this week. “We’re hopeful that the people of this great city are reminded that we do things right and that even when an officer may have done something inappropriate that it will be dealt with in an appropriate fashion.”
Tensing, a 26-year-old officer with the University of Cincinnati police, had a clean disciplinary record and as far as could be determined, had never even pulled his gun while on duty, according to a report by TV news station WCPO.
Yet, when he pulled over Samuel DuBose at about 6:30 p.m. on July 19, somehow things went terribly wrong. According to Tensing’s account, DuBose attempted to drive away from the traffic stop, even though the officer was hanging on to the vehicle.
Before letting go of the car, Tensing shot DuBose in the head at close range, according to his version of events, filed in his report of the tragic incident.
But the family of the slain motorist says that they need to know for sure what happened — something that the video will tell them. But the police and the city are keeping that video under wraps. And their characterization of the video’s contents appears to imply that Tensing’s version may not be entirely accurate.
“The video is not good,” Chief Blackwell said. “I think the city manager has said that also publicly. I’ll leave it there.”
“It’s not a good situation,” said Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black. “It’s a tragic situation. Someone has died that did not necessarily need to die.”
The prosecutor in the case stated unequivocally this week that the DuBose family will not see the video unless he is forced to show it to them by the state’s Supreme Court.
“I doubt I will be, ” added Prosecutor Joe Deters. “They’re not going to get it.”
The fatal shooting of Timothy Thomas, a 19-year-old, unarmed black man, in 2001 led to three days of severe rioting in Cincinnati.
Pastor Ennis Tait, who conducted funeral services Tuesday for Samuel DuBose, warned of “another Timothy Thomas situation,” saying that the slain man’s family “don’t want the city to be turned upside down and that issue to be attached to their brother’s life.”
[Images: Cincinnati Police Department]