University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing was indicted for murder on Wednesday in the shooting death of Samuel DuBose, after body camera footage contradicted Tensing’s account.
Tensing, 25, pulled over DuBose, 43, for a missing license plate on the front of his car on July 19. Following the shooting, Tensing told his fellow officers that he fired his gun because he feared for his life after his hand got caught on DuBose’s car, and he thought DuBose would run him over.
“I think I’m OK,” Tensing said after the incident, according to his body cam recording. “He was just dragging me. I thought I was going to get run over. I was trying to stop him.”
However, the footage from Tensing’s body cam appears to directly contradict his story. At a news conference on Wednesday, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters noted that while DuBose did put his keys in the ignition of the car, it did not start rolling until after Tensing pulled out his gun, shot DuBose in the head, and then fell backwards.
“It is our belief that he was not dragged,” Deters said. “If you slow down this tape you see what happens, it is a very short period of time from when the car starts rolling to when a gun is out and he’s shot in the head.”
CNN noted that while Tensing left the scene with another officer to go to the hospital to get checked out, the footage from the body cam “shows no one rendering aid to DuBose.”
Deters called the incident “totally unwarranted,” and said he believes Tensing’s false report was his way of “making an excuse for a purposeful killing.”
[quote_center]“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make – totally unwarranted,” Deters said. “It’s an absolute tragedy in the year 2015 that anyone would behave in this manner. It was senseless.”[/quote_center]
Deters also noted that while “people want to believe” that DuBose, who was unarmed, “had done something violent towards the officer,” video footage from the scene shows that he did not. “I feel so sorry for his family and what they lost, and I feel sorry for the community, too,” Deters said.
Following the shooting, The Guardian noted that in addition to Tensing giving his account of events to other officers arriving at the scene, two of those officers repeated Tensing’s version, claiming he was dragged by DuBose, and one of the officers “claims to have witnessed it occurring.”
The Associated Press reported that during Tensing’s arraignment on Thursday morning, where he pleaded “not guilty” to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter, “people in the courtroom audience erupted into cheers and clapping” when Tensing’s bond was set at $1 million.