Ray Tensing, 25, is looking at 15 years to life if he’s convicted of killing Samuel DuBose, according to Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters; while Cincinnati is looking at civil unrest if things get out of hand.
“He purposely killed him. He should never have been a police officer. This is without question murder.”
This is the first time a Cincinnati police officer has been charged with killing someone while on duty, and the University of Cincinnati shut down campus and cancelled classes as the town braced for a possible race riot.
The body cam video footage, which wasn’t released until Wednesday, directly conflicts with the story Tensing told prosecutors.
The video shows Tensing shooting and killing 19-year-old DuBose during a calm conversation after he pulled him over for not having a front license plate. DuBose is black and Tensing is white.
Tensing says he tried to pull DuBose over for not having a front license plate, but he kept driving for a mile before finally pulling over. Then when he asked DuBose for his license, he instead handed the officer a bottle of alcohol.
A struggle followed and DuBose sped away, with Tensing hanging on, which is when Tensing shot DuBose once in the head. The car rolled for a full block before coming to a stop.
In the video DuBose’s car only starts moving after he’d been shot.
At first, officials didn’t want to release the video for fear it would spark civil unrest. Prosecuting attorney Deters eventually released the video Wednesday after first showing it DuBose’s family.
Tensing turned himself Wednesday morning and was promptly indicted.
City and University officials braced for public outrage Wednesday after the body cam footage was released. Ohio Highway Patrol troops arrived on the college campus in the morning, while city police prepared for possible unrest.
Community activists called for peace Wednesday afternoon and the family said they weren’t looking for violence to be associated with DuBose’s death. There is a Black Lives Matter protest planned for Wednesday night, but neighbors are hoping everything remains calm.
“What more can you ask for? As terrible as it is, it should be a proud moment for our community. We can prove that we can take the most horrible incident and show the world how our community reacts and becomes better.”