Grand Jury Indicts University Of Cincinnati Cop Caught On Video Shooting Unarmed Man For Murder


University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was indicted for the murder of Samuel DuBose by a grand jury Wednesday. Tensing originally tried to claim DuBose, 43, almost ran him over with his car and “dragged” him down the road. But video evidence directly contradicted Tensing’s version of events.

In the body camera video released Wednesday, Tensing asks DuBose several times if he has a driver’s license after pulling him over for a missing license plate. When DuBose moves to get out of the car, Tensing immediately shoots him.


Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters called the shooting “the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen a cop do” in his 30 years as a prosecutor, adding, “He should never have been a police officer.” Cincinnati’s police chief also said the video recording was “not good.”

The indictment of Tensing is extremely unusual, even among the already sparse number of high profile police killings that manage to reach a prosecutor’s office. Grand juries almost never indict police officers, and prosecutors are often reluctant to bring charges against the people they work with on a daily basis — especially when they know a jury is unlikely to convict them.

Routine traffic stops can turn fatal within minutes for people of color. Drivers of color arefrequently pulled over for little or no reason, and the situation can escalate quickly. But without video proof, it can be almost impossible to dispute the official police account and hold officers accountable. In another case that received national media attention, police officers in South Carolina claimed 50-year-old Walter Scott had tried to fight them with a Taser, forcing them to kill him in self-defense. But witness video surfaced that showed Scott was shot while fleeing the police, unarmed. Without the video, it’s unlikely the officer would have been charged with murder.

But much of the time, even video footage is not enough to guarantee criminal charges. The officer caught on video choking Eric Garner was spared by a grand jury; instead, another grand jury indicted the man who filmed Garner’s death in what he says was police retaliation.


Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress