Cincinnati: A University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a motorist during a traffic stop over a missing front licence plate has been indicted on murder charges and a prosecutor said today that the officer “purposely killed him.”
Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the grand jury indictment at a news conference to discuss developments in the investigation into the July 19 shooting of 43-year-old motorist Samuel DuBose by Officer Ray Tensing.
DuBose’s death comes amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with African-Americans, especially those killed by officers. DuBose was black. Tensing is white. Authorities haven’t indicated whether race was a part of the investigation.
Authorities have said Tensing spotted a car driven by DuBose and missing the front licence plate, which is required by Ohio law. They say Tensing stopped the car and a struggle ensued after DuBose refused to provide a driver’s license and get out of the car.
Tensing has said he was dragged by the car and forced to shoot at DuBose. He fired one shot, striking DuBose in the head.
But Deters dismissed Tensing’s claim that he was dragged by the car and suggested that he shouldn’t have pulled DuBose over to begin with.
“He fell backward after he shot (DuBose) in the head,” Deters said.
On footage released from the body-camera video today, the officer can be heard asking for DuBose’s driver’s license several times with DuBose at one point saying he had one. Later, DuBose says, “But I don’t think I have it on me.”
Tensing asks DuBose to unbuckle his seat belt. About that time Tensing pulls on the door handle, and DuBose puts his hand on the door to keep it closed. Then the video becomes shaky, but a gunshot can be heard and DuBose appears to be slumped in the seat before the car rolls away, coming to stop at a nearby corner.