On July 19, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot by Ray Tensing, a white University of Cincinnati police officer, during a traffic stop for a missing front license plate and a suspended driver’s license. Tensing fired after DuBose started his car. Tensing stated that DuBose had begun to drive off and that he was being dragged because his arm was caught in the car.
Prosecutors alleged that footage from Tensing’s bodycam showed that he was not dragged, and a grand jury indicted him on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. He was then fired from the police department. He was released on bond before trial. A November 2016 trial ended in a mistrial after the jury became deadlocked. A retrial began in May 2017 also ended in a hung jury. The charges against Tensing were later dismissed with prejudice.
Tax Payer Costs
Stew Mathews, Tensing’s attorney, said that Tensing was being dragged by the car and that the officer fired in self-defence while fearing for his life. Mathews said that video from Lindenschmidt’s bodycam helped substantiate that claim. However, a video forensics expert and FBI instructor Grant Fredericks disagreed with these claims—testifying the video showed Tensing had never been dragged, and in fact, pulled and aimed his gun at Dubose’s head before the vehicle moved. Fredericks further testified he believed the vehicle’s later acceleration occurred after the shooting, as a result of a “post-mortem reflex.” In January 2016, following two days of mediation with civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein, the University of Cincinnati agreed to pay $4.85 million to the DuBose family. In addition to financial compensation, the settlement included free undergraduate education for DuBose’s children, the creation of a memorial in his name, an apology from the school’s president, and engagement by the family in police reform at the university. It also protected all potential defendants from any future civil litigation in DuBose’s death. On March 23, 2018, Ray Tensing was awarded nearly $350,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal from his former employer.
Whom does the police serve?
People forget that the police were originally created to catch escaped slaves in the south. In the north, they were breaking up unions and protecting the interest of corporatists. If we want the police to protect us (the people) and not use the population as a cash cow to fund their declining budgets, we must have accountability to the public now.
FIGHT TO END “QUALIFIED IMMUNITY”
The first publicly funded, organized police force with officers on duty full-time was created in Boston in 1838. See: Times