Cincinnati Cop Indicted For Murder In Traffic Stop Shooting Death

A police officer in Cincinnati has been indicted for murder in a case that seems to be a pretty clear cut example of improper use of force.

Police Pistol

A University of Cincinnati Police Officer has been indicted for murder in the shooting death of an African-American man, and it is the video from his own body camera that provides the most damning evidence against him:

A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted on murder charges on Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a driver this month that a prosecutor called “totally unwarranted” and “senseless.”

In the indictment handed up by a grand jury in Hamilton County, the officer, Ray Tensing, is accused of killing the driver, Samuel DuBose, during a traffic stop near the campus on July 19.

At a news conference, the county prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, said that Officer Tensing “purposely killed” Mr. DuBose after the officer lost his temper in what he called a “chicken crap” traffic stop.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” Mr. Deters told reporters. “This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make, totally unwarranted.” A body-camera video of the shooting was also being released.

“He purposely killed him,” Mr. Deters said of Officer Tensing. “He should never have been a police officer.”

Officer Tensing turned himself in on Wednesday after his indictment, according to reports

The death of Mr. DuBose, who was black, at the hands of Officer Tensing, who is white, joined a string of recent episodes — in Staten Island, Cleveland, North Charleston, S.C., and Ferguson, Mo., among others — that have raised hard questions about law enforcement use of force, and the role of race in policing. Video cameras have recorded many of the episodes and nonlethal encounters like the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died three days later in a Texas jail cell, offering disturbing evidence of the confrontations that often contradicts the accounts of people involved.

(…)

Mr. DuBose, 43, a father of 10, was just south of the university campus, driving a green 1998 Honda Accord without a front license plate, when Officer Tensing began following him, according to an account that Jason Goodrich, chief of the university police, gave on Monday. Moments later, the officer pulled Mr. DuBose over on a side street, a few blocks from the campus, Mr. Goodrich said.

He said that when Officer Tensing asked for a driver’s license, Mr. DuBose handed him a bottle of alcohol instead. But Mr. Goodrich gave no more insight into the confrontation that followed, in which the officer fired one shot that struck Mr. DuBose in the head.

Another university officer who arrived shortly after the shooting, Eric Weibel, wrote in his report that Officer Tensing told him that “he was being dragged by the vehicle and had to fire his weapon,” and that “Officer Tensing stated that he was almost run over.” A third officer, he wrote, said he had seen Officer Tensing being dragged.

“Looking at Officer Tensing’s uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface,” Officer Weibel wrote.

On an audio recording of police radio communications, after Officer Tensing shouted “Shots fired! Shots fired,” a dispatcher asked who was injured. It is not clear if he replied “I am injured” or “I’m uninjured.”

“I almost got run over by the car,” the officer said. “He took off on me. I discharged one round. Shot the man in the head.”

The body camera video shows that the situation unfolded far differently from what Officer Tensing claimed happen. Rather than being dragged across any kind of surface, or DuBose making any effort to fight with the officer, what we see is Tensing asking DuBose several times if he had a driver’s license and when DuBose makes an effort to get out of the car, Tensing shoots him in the head, killing him:

Leading up to today’s announcement of charges against Officer Tensing, there was some anticipation in the community that a failure on the part of prosecutors to take action against the officer could lead to unrest in Cincinnati, which has a history of such things. Back in 2001, the city was racked with several days of rioting after another African-American male was shot and killed by a city police office during a traffic stop under circumstances that were remarkably similar to what happened to DuBose with the exception that, at the time, police body cameras were not a common thing. Prior to that shooting, there had been a long history of tension between the policy and African-American community over allegations of targeting and abusive behavior toward African-Americans by police. To some extent, it seemed during the run-up to today’s announcement that the authorities in the city were doing their best to avoid a repeat of what had happened fourteen years earlier.

As for the case itself, the video speaks for itself and seems to be a fairly damning piece of evidence against the officer. Shooting a man in the head before you even have a chance to evaluate the situation is bad enough, doing so in the course of what started out as a traffic stop because of a missing or misplaced license plate. DuBose was posing no threat to Tensing at the time that he shot him, and the fact that Tensing gave a version of events that clearly does not comport with what the body camera recorded is fairly damning evidence that he was conscious of the fact that he done something wrong and was seeking to cover it up by creating a story about having been provoked and in fear of his life. Given the fact that he obviously knew his body camera was recording the entire event, one has to wonder what made him think he could even get away with telling such a blatant lie. Of course, the fact that previous incidents like this in Cincinnati have not resulted in an indictment, that police officers are rarely indicted in these sorts of situations, and that prosecutors are often reluctant to pursue charges because of their need to maintain a good relationship with the departments they work with may have led Tensing to think he could get away with this.

Along with everything else that this case says about the ongoing issues about police abuse that have been at the forefront of our political discussion since the Michael Brown shooting, this case is perhaps the best argument we’ve seen for body cameras since the debate started. Were it not for the fact that Officer Tensing was wearing a camera, it is unlikely that any investigation of his shooting would have uncovered sufficient evidence to rebut his version of events and we likely would have been left with a situation similar to the one that the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case faced. Perhaps the forensic and ballistic evidence alone would have been enough to call Tensing’s story into doubt, but those doubts may not have been enough to persuade a Grand Jury to indict.

There is still a trial to come, of course, and Officer Tensing is entitled to the same presumptions of innocence that we all are, but at least he was indicted and that is a good first step.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Race and Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    The prosecutor knew he could get away with indicting a university cop without getting in real trouble with the Cincinnati PD, and that allows him to bury the next not quite so obvious case.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I got nothing to say except that I am cautiously optimistic that justice may prevail. And by ‘justice’ I do not mean a finding of ‘Guilty’. I mean a fair and open trial where the evidence is presented for all to see and a jury of his true peers* are allowed to decide Tensing’s fate. Unlike that travesty in STL County.

    * and by ‘true peers’ I mean a jury truly representative of the city of Cincinnati, not one where all blacks are struck from the jury pool just because some body can.

  3. mantis says:

    …this case is perhaps the best argument we’ve seen for body cameras since the debate started. Were it not for the fact that Officer Tensing was wearing a camera, it is unlikely that any investigation of his shooting would have uncovered sufficient evidence to rebut his version of events and we likely would have been left with a situation similar to the one that the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case faced.

    Or more likely there would have been no real investigation at all. We need federal legislation requiring all police departments to mandate body camera usage for all officers. This guy would have gotten away with murder if it weren’t for that camera. How many more illegal homicides do police cover up each year due to lack of evidence and police-friendly prosecutors? We have the technology to provide the accountability that is sorely needed from our police forces. It’s time to use it, no exceptions.

  4. EddieInCA says:

    That’s one of the worst videos I’ve ever seen.

    I almost vomited.

    EVERY officer in EVERY jursidiction should have a body camera and/or Dash cameras.

    If not for a bystander shooting video of Walter Scott’s murder, that officer would have gotten away with it. Without the bodycam, this officer would have gotten away with it.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: EVERY officer in EVERY jurisdiction should have a body camera and/or Dash cameras. FTFY. Cameras from different POVs show different things. What might seem murky on a body cam may be plain as day from a dash cam. And neither are a panacea.

    We saw what happened to John Crawford. We saw what happened to Tamir Rice. Neither of their shooters’ cases (as far as I know) have been presented to grand juries.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA:

    EVERY officer in EVERY jurisdiction should have a body camera and/or Dash cameras.

    FTFY. Cameras from different POVs show different things. What might seem murky on a body cam may be plain as day from a dash cam. And neither are a panacea.

    We saw what happened to John Crawford. We saw what happened to Tamir Rice. Neither of their shooters’ cases (as far as I know) have been presented to grand juries.

    Bad etiquette, sorry.

  7. Paul L. says:

    I can not believe the police gave up the Body Cam video so quickly. Most Police departments do not give up video that does not exonerate the officers without a prolonged court battle.
    This cop must not be in a union.
    Queue up the Police union talking points.
    http://moonbatman.blogspot.com/2015/04/support-federal-law-enforcement-bill-of.html
    5) Police officer statements override any video or audio evidence as the officers’ reasonable perceptions are more accurate. Video or audio footage does not capture the physical struggle from the officers’ perspective, nor does it capture the officers’ reasonable, split-second decision-making and thought processes in tense circumstances.
    ..
    8) Any videos from Police equipment should only be used in court and/or be released to the public with the approval of all police officers being filmed to protect their privacy.

    16) Video from Police Body and Dash Cams, Police, Jail and all other surveillance cameras should only be used to protect the Police, not as a internal affairs “gotcha-head hunter” tool.

  8. EddieInCA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    We saw what happened to John Crawford. We saw what happened to Tamir Rice. Neither of their shooters’ cases (as far as I know) have been presented to grand juries.

    Tamir Rice case is still outstanding.

    The John Crawford grand jury and prosecutors refused to indict. The racist scumbag azzhole, Ronald Ritchie, who made the 911 call in which he lied to the 911 operator, has also avoided ANY punishment.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/26/walmart-ohio-shooting-charges-911-calller-john-crawford

  9. JohnMcC says:

    I will be really impressed only after the 2d and 3d Officers on the scene are severely disciplined for filing false reports and/or failing to report their ‘colleague’.

  10. race baiters r us says:

    Sure Doug don’t mention that the guy pulled his door shut and started his get away car as the cop asked him to take off his seat belt….how did the car go fifty yards done the road?

    Just like *every*single*situation* you race baiters bring up involves someone disobeying or attacking or resisting the cops. It’s sad that it results in deadly force but that’s how the cookie crumble. Fight the man the man fights you back.

    List one event in the past years of this administration that hasn’t fit this description….zero and holder kicked it all off with not prosecuting the black panthers for voter intimidation then got it rolling with “that officer acted stupidly” and it’s been all race all baiting all the time.

  11. Jack says:

    one has to wonder what made him think he could even get away with telling such a blatant lie

    Typically, the thin blue line protect liars, cheats, drug dealers, drug abusers, spouse abusers, assault, sexual assault, child diddlers, thieves, burglars, strong arm robbers, murderers, and rapists…as long as they wear a tin badge.

  12. Jack says:

    @race baiters r us:

    all race all baiting all the time

    If this cop got away with this against a black man, he would have tried it on a white man as well. This is not about color…unless that color is blue.

  13. Jack says:

    @JohnMcC:

    I will be really impressed only after the 2d and 3d Officers on the scene are severely disciplined for filing false reports and/or failing to report their ‘colleague’.

    ^^^This!

  14. Crusty Dem says:

    @race baiters r us:

    Look who’s all tough and righteous in his white robe and matching hood.

  15. race baiters r us says:

    @Jack/Doug

    when DuBose makes an effort to get out of the car, Tensing shoots him in the head, killing him:

    Doug said that…clearly that didn’t happen….so how do you square that circle ? Where he posts

    The death of Mr. DuBose, who was black, at the hands of Officer Tensing, who is white, joined a string of recent episodes — in Staten Island, Cleveland, North Charleston, S.C., and Ferguson, Mo., among others


    no you are right that’s not race baiting…is it?

  16. race baiters r us says:

    @crust

    Lol yes my clan sheets put a righteous aura around Doug’s misrepresentation and baiting.

  17. Jack says:

    @race baiters r us: There has been a string of high profile white cop on black victim cases. It’s undeniable. Yet there are numerous not so high profile case of black/white cop on white man/woman. The cases above don’t necessarily lead to murder, but are all indicative of over zealous policing practices, typically to pad their numbers, attempt to find a more serious crime, or retaliation for contempt of cop.

    The problem remains, police–who are public servants–consider themselves above plebes like us and feel they can do whatever they want and get away with it. And police leadership and politicians let them…or slap them with a paid vacation.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    This is not about race…it’s about another clown with a gun thinking he’s the shit because he has a gun.
    It’s about guns…not race.

  19. LaMont says:

    I find it rather sad and ironic that decades after Ice T made “Cop Killer” and NWA made “f#ck the police” that people who are not black may finally understand why these songs were made in the first place. You could argue that these songs contributed to these issues making the poisonous relationship between the police and the African American community a self fulfilling prophesy but these issues existed long before these rappers made these songs. How can any African American view this video and not think at some level that police officers that do not look like them are terrorists? That may sound harsh or overly dramatic to many but until you really understand what it means to be an African American in this country you will never get the sentiment. That video makes makes me sick to my stomach!

  20. race baiters r us says:

    @Jack

    It’s not really the point. Cops have a tough job. Sure there will be the one that was picked on in hs that now likes to throw his swagger around. But these aren’t cases of Klan cops lynching blacks. NOT one of any of the baiting zero has pushed is that.
    You ever wonder why cops get so pissed off when you aren’t wearing a seatbelt? It’s because they don’t want to respond to an accident where you are a skid mark on the road. And they certainly don’t want to have to chase a potentially drunken thug idiot thru residential streets because he decided to run.
    what if he mows down some innocent people?

  21. JKB says:

    Looks like another overcharge. There certainly doesn’t appear to be intent which is an element of murder.

    It does look like an accidental killing, which the officer may then have tried to justify. It is possible the officer doesn’t have a good grasp of imminent threat when someone tries to drive off when he is standing beside, not in front, of the car.

    The prosecutor has revealed his bias with his characterization of the stop. I’d have more respect for him if he campaigned to have the state legislature repeal the law about front license plates, or at least make it a violation that cannot justify a stop, but could be cited during a stop for other cause.

  22. race baiters r us says:

    I find it rather sad and ironic that decades after Ice T made “Cop Killer” and NWA made “f#ck the police

    ….. Yes tell that to the families of the two “white” cops assassinated in NYC as revenge for the lie that was ferguson…

    The only thing ironic is that ice t plays a cop on tv now for you bozos.

  23. dennis says:

    @race baiters r us:

    Wow. You’re the smelliest piece of excrement I’ve encountered all day. And I work with dogs for a living. Lots of them . . .

  24. Stonetools says:

    I’m beginning to think that the solution for the constant flow of wrongful police killings is to disarm the police. It’s not clear to me why we should allow law enforcement officers so poorly trained in self restraint to have guns. I’m sure of one thing-if the police were killing middle class white people at the same rate they were gunning down black and brown folk, we would have seen action a long time ago.
    This case is a picture perfect example of why body cameras are needed. It’s because not only do the police wrongfully kill people -they lie to cover it up. And they can depend on local prosecutors to back them up most of the time as we have seen.

    Remember the thread when some people were mad about the #BLM protestors disrupting that forum in Arizona? Well, here is fresh evidence of why they can’t wait.

  25. alkali says:

    A dumb question: why did the police officer tell this bizarre story about being dragged if he knew he was wearing a body cam? I’m guessing that he thought for some reason that the body cam footage would not be reviewed, but I don’t know.

  26. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    Looks like another overcharge.

    Wrong narrative, bud.

    There certainly doesn’t appear to be intent which is an element of murder.

    Well, I think when you pull out your gun, fire it into someone’s head, you intend to kill someone. But that’s just me….a dude with a working knowledge of cause and effect.

    It does look like an accidental killing, which the officer may then have tried to justify.

    He accidentally drew his weapon over a missing front license plate. Of course!

    (I will agree that the officer attempted to justify the escalation. They all do.)

    It is possible the officer doesn’t have a good grasp of imminent threat when someone tries to drive off when he is standing beside, not in front, of the car.

    Yah think?

    The prosecutor has revealed his bias with his characterization of the stop.

    Prosecutors should be biased. What’s the problem?

    I’d have more respect for him if he campaigned to have the state legislature repeal the law about front license plates

    Really…..

  27. TheoNott says:

    @race baiters r us:

    Not sure if troll, but for the record, it is never legal for a cop to shoot a fleeing suspect whom he has no reason to believe poses an immediate threat to others.

  28. Jack says:

    @race baiters r us:

    Cops have a tough job.

    You ever wonder why cops get so pissed off when you aren’t wearing a seatbelt?

    Cops are not even in the top 10 of tough jobs…also, they volunteer.

    Cops don’t get pissed when they find someone not wearing a seatbelt, they get giddy. They get to write another easy ticket…to meet their quota, they get to legally demean someone for a crime without a victim, and they get to raise money to pay their own salary. A police officer is not responsible for my safety, otherwise they would outlaw extreme sports.

  29. TheoNott says:

    @Stonetools: In the abstract, I’m on board with the idea of an unarmed police force, however I don’t think it could be implemented here, at least for now, simply because there are so many firearms in civilian hands. Japan makes it work, because civilian gun ownership are almost entirely banned.

  30. JKB says:

    @James Pearce: Really…..

    When we’re saying “the government should intervene,” we’re saying “an organization with guns should threaten to lock people in cages if they don’t comply with its dictates.”
    –Art Carden, Econlog

    Either the front license plate law is BS, or the stop was appropriate. And anytime you interact with police, there is the risk that any non-compliance will be met with violence, even unto death. So either the law is worth the risk of someone getting shot, or it is not.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieInCA: thanx

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    So either the law is worth the risk of someone getting shot, or it is not.

    So, following your logic, any law, every law, has capitol punishment as a reasonable sentence? And cops, all cops, have it within their jurisdiction to be judge, jury, and executioner?

    I don’t know how else to say it: You are a complete and total idiot. Thank dog you live far away from me, tho it is safe to say, not far enough.

  33. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: There is one absolute rule applied to responsibly carrying a firearm. Just one. And absolute. The only reason to point the gun at something is because you intend to shoot it.

    You never, ever pull out the weapon to threaten someone or impress someone or as an accessory to ordering them around or to look/feel manly and in control or because you feel afraid.

    And you never shoot to wound. If the situation is so dire and threatening that you need to point the weapon you are trying to kill. That is the only recourse in such a horrible situation.

    No doubt in my mind that Officer Tensing had been told that since he entered the process of becoming a police officer. Therefore, the report that he felt his life endangered when the world can plainly see he was not.

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: How do you accidentally pull a gun and point it at a guy’s face?

    The prosecutor has revealed his bias with his characterization of the stop.

    As a long time resident of Cincinnati let me assure you this runs counter to all of Joe Deters’ biases. He’s doing this because: our 2001 riot over a police shooting put the fear in Cincinnati government and spawned some real reform, because a University cop isn’t a full member of the fraternity, and because this cop’s act is so clearly indefensible.

    FYI, the southern suburbs of Cincinnati are in KY, which does not require front plates, so a lot of cars operating in Cincy legally do not have front plates. The OH legislature is right now considering dropping front plates. (Hope they do, screws up the nose styling on my Miata something awful. A lot of Ohioans leave the front plate off illegally. They don’t get shot.)

  35. Barry says:

    “…but those doubts may not have been enough to persuade a Grand Jury to indict.”

    More like they would have provided the prosecutor with an excuse not to take it to a Grand Jury, and/or the prosecutor could have made it clear to the Grand Jury not to indict.

    Any analysis which starts from the idea that the prosecutor is honest and impartial is severely flawed, IMHO.

  36. Barry says:

    @JKB: “The prosecutor has revealed his bias with his characterization of the stop.”

    What part of ‘shooting the guy in the head and falsely claiming self-defense’ don’t you understand?

  37. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    Either the front license plate law is BS, or the stop was appropriate.

    This is the essential piece you’re missing: There’s nothing really wrong with front license plate laws or pulling people over for it.

    Just write the person a ticket and leave it at that. You don’t have to kill them. (Even if they’re an asshole.)

    And anytime you interact with police, there is the risk that any non-compliance will be met with violence, even unto death.

    As an observation of how far things have devolved on this matter, yes, it’s hard to argue with this observation. But this idea, it should be said, is contradicted by more than one provision in the Constitution.

    The accused have rights, and the “non-compliant” are still subject to due process.

  38. C. Clavin says:

    It’s tragic that people like Jack and JKB are so beholden to the gun manufacturers and their lobbying arm, the NRA, that they will rationalize what is clearly murder.
    What is wrong with these people?

  39. EddieInCA says:

    @C. Clavin:

    While I disagree with Jack vehemently on enough subjects, I think it’s been shown that he’s consistently been saying that police have too much power and have treated citizens unfairly in too many instances. Despite his full-fledged membership in the gun cult, he has argued many times against police brutality, cover-ups, mis-behavior. And he has done so strongly and consistently.

    JKB, on the other hand, once again shows that there is nothing a policeman can/would do that he, JKB, will not defend. This officer shot a man – in the head – that posed NO THREAT.

  40. wr says:

    @Jack: “Cops don’t get pissed when they find someone not wearing a seatbelt, they get giddy”

    Hey, here’s a wild thought. Maybe different cops react differently to similar situations, since police officers, despite the uniformity of the uniform, are actually individual human beings.

  41. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: “JKB, on the other hand, once again shows that there is nothing a policeman can/would do that he, JKB, will not defend. This officer shot a man – in the head – that posed NO THREAT.”

    Well, he was black. And apparently he had a cigarette, and we’ve already learned from Sandra Bland’s case that being black and smoking in front of a cop is grounds for execution.

  42. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It’s tragic that people like Jack and JKB are so beholden to the gun manufacturers and their lobbying arm, the NRA, that they will rationalize what is clearly murder.

    Complete Fail! But don’t stop bumping uglies with your goat on that account.

  43. Jack says:

    @wr:

    Hey, here’s a wild thought. Maybe different cops react differently to similar situations, since police officers, despite the uniformity of the uniform, are actually individual human beings.

    It’s funny how you group all gun owners, all southerners, all republicans, all white people, etc but become offended when we group police together. They are the largest gang in the nation and if they are not personally dirty, they know, have witnessed, or have been complicit with those who are.

  44. humanoid.panda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    It’s tragic that people like Jack and JKB are so beholden to the gun manufacturers and their lobbying arm, the NRA, that they will rationalize what is clearly murder.

    Not a fan of Jack, but he doesn’t seem to be justifying this, at all.

  45. Franklin says:

    Whatever happened, how do you go from talking to somebody to shooting them like two seconds later? Unless the guy pulled out a gun in that time (and nobody has suggested he did), there was no apparent danger to the officer.

  46. wr says:

    @Jack: “It’s funny how you group all gun owners, all southerners, all republicans, all white people, etc but become offended when we group police together. They are the largest gang in the nation and if they are not personally dirty, they know, have witnessed, or have been complicit with those who are.”

    So what you’re trying to say is that you are actually clinically insane. Is that right?

  47. Jack says:

    @wr: So, the fact that two additional officers immediately wrote reports confirming the original officers story of being dragged and in fear of his life doesn’t prove my point?

  48. bill says:

    i don’t see a “murder” conviction there, dubose was shutting the door and trying to flee when the gun went off. without the video i’d have thought (by dougs description) that the guy was trying to exit his car (as the cop told him to)- and was shot in the head for no reason….other than being black of course.
    criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter at best- they better try to plea him down or the city might burn.

  49. Jack says:

    @bill:

    i don’t see a “murder” conviction there, dubose was shutting the door and trying to flee when the gun went off.

    I dislike passive voice. The gun didn’t go off. The officer pulled the trigger.

    So, to correct, “dubose was shutting the door and trying to flee when the officer drew his weapon, pointed it at dubose, sent an electrical impulse from his brain to his finger, and pulled the trigger”.

  50. Blue Galangal says:

    @JohnMcC: I don’t know if it’s made any news anywhere yet but we just received an email from UC Public Affairs that the 2nd and 3rd officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. (Full disclosure: I live in Cincinnati and have family that attend school at UC, and I work there.)

    Two things stood out for me for this relative to other incidents. One, the police chief has not been up there saying stupid things. Neither has anyone else in the city (including the mayor, who has a blatant history of saying stupid things, btw), which is a far cry from the stupid things that are still being said about, e.g., Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland. Two, the prosecutor came out and said it was an asinine thing to do and followed that up with an indictment a day later. He’s not getting a lot of local push back on that either; almost everyone I know is positive about the indictment, including the police chief and several council members. Even the local media, which is historically conservative, is being careful to strike the right notes. As soon as Tensing was fired, all the local reports updated their wording to say “former police officer” and switched his picture from the Academy photo to the mug shot. It seems to me that someone in Cincinnati has been paying attention to the many, many missteps that contributed to tensions and even rioting since Ferguson.

    And make no mistake, Cincinnati’s pretty racist. It’s 500 feet north of the Mason-Dixon line, after all, and has a bad urban/suburban divide, income inequality, and a dark underbelly of race relations (I lived in the area affected by the 2001 race riots at that time). On the other hand, Cincinnati’s police department and city committed to the DOJ oversight of the PD and are apparently a model now for community/police relations. The UC police are NOT a part of that community model, and were not subject to DOJ oversight.

  51. wr says:

    @Jack: “So, the fact that two additional officers immediately wrote reports confirming the original officers story of being dragged and in fear of his life doesn’t prove my point?”

    Yes, Pinky. Of course. The fact that two other podunk cops went along with this proves that every single police officer in the United States is enmeshed in a massive conspiracy against you. Clearly if these three acted badly, then that proves all are guilty.

    I’m so glad you own guns.

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @Blue Galangal: Didn’t know you were a fellow Cincinnatian.
    @gVOR08:

  53. Franklin says:

    @Jack: My opinion is that those two value loyalty more than truth. I wouldn’t call this uncommon. The police consider themselves a brotherhood. It’s certainly cowardly of these fellow officers to not provide the whole truth, but for them it’s a difficult position to be in.

  54. Jack says:

    @wr:

    every single police officer in the United States is enmeshed in a massive conspiracy against you.

    No one ever implied that every single police officer in the United States is enmeshed in a massive conspiracy against me. But they do routinely conspire against the general, non-blue populace to increase revenue, meet quotas, and generally fwck up your life if you don’t lick their boots.

  55. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mu: That was a thought that crossed my mind. Where I come from on the left coast, the prevailing attitude has been that campus police forces aren’t really cops–to the extent that years ago when the county suggested that the communications systems of the Sheriff’s office, Seattle Police and U of W police be linked to provide mutual assistance the union of the Seattle Police objected, stating that there were no circumstances where the University Police would be capable of offering assistance. Prosecuting a “campus clown” is not only a free shot, it might even engender some favorable feeling from the “real” police force.

    To JKB and race baiters…: Wow! That was unbelievable. You’ve outdone yourselves.

  56. JohnMcC says:

    @Blue Galangal: Thank you. I lived in Florence, Ky many many years ago and have some awareness of the political/cultural nature of ‘the Rhineland’.

  57. Barry says:

    @EddieInCA: “JKB, on the other hand, once again shows that there is nothing a policeman can/would do that he, JKB, will not defend. This officer shot a man – in the head – that posed NO THREAT.”

    I’ll bet that if a police officer went up behind a white, right-wing ‘open carry’ guy and just shot him in the head, he’d change his tune.

  58. racebaiters r us says:

    I’ll bet that if a police officer went up behind a white, right-wing ‘open carry’ guy and just shot him in the head, he’d change his tune

    . …almost like those assassinated “white” cops were shot in the head? We better disarm them eh stoned?…the criminals would love that. Doug or any of the lap dogs still haven’t addressed the central position of my post… Why did he misrepresent what happened and why is that every single race baited instance over zero’s woeful tenure not bore the racial fruit he was looking for?

  59. pylon says:

    Some of the comments on lack of intent and murder disclose a little bit of misunderstanding of mens rea and how it’s proven. Murder requires intent to kill, it’s true. It needn’t be planned and deliberate intent unless it’s a first degree charge. All that needs to be shown is an intent, in that split second, to kill.

    How does one go about proving intent? The courts accept the proposition that people intend the natural consequences of their actions. So if I shoot a gun at a guy’s head, it’s assumed I intended to kill him. Now, I might lead evidence to the contrary (I was joking, didn’t know it was a real gun, was just trying to scare and pulled the trigger accidentally or even intended to just miss). But absent that kind of evidence all that the prosecution needs to do is show the action.

    Plus, there’s the fact that this fellow was trained in the use of pistols and undoubtedly told that when they are used in the field, it’s to put the target down. So that firms up the above assumption.

  60. bill says:

    @Jack: really, a pacifist not liking a “passive” voice? any lawyer can claim the gun “went off” due to the victims actions- we did watch the same video correct? luckily the da threw a “voluntary manslaughter” charge in the mix as that’s more viable unless there’s an all black jury.

  61. Jack says:

    @bill:

    really, a pacifist not liking a “passive” voice?

    That is a first. I’ve never been called a “pacifist” before in my long life.

  62. Blue Galangal says:

    @gVOR08: I didn’t know you were in Cincinnati either! I think I did have a vague idea that we had talked about some of the same Congressional races at one time. It’s odd that this did not really make any kind if national headlines until the video/indictment. I see Tensing has posted bond and is suing UC for wrongful dismissal. That confirms my initial impression of him, which is to say he seems to be a good fit for the Milford PD and, given the last 24 hrs reporting on other encounters, race may indeed have been a factor.

  63. Mu says:

    As expected the “hero” DA has cleared the other cops of all charges as their initial statements where “not sworn”, and they testified truthfully in front of the grand jury. I wonder if other defendants get to use that excuse “my first statement was just my initial recollection of facts” when the DA confronts them with a changing story.

  64. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Mu: As many as need the protection of the big blue wall?

  65. Barry says:

    @Mu: ” I wonder if other defendants get to use that excuse “my first statement was just my initial recollection of facts” when the DA confronts them with a changing story.”

    If they need your testimony, yes.