On July 19th, 2015, Samuel Dubose (43) was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati campus police officer after a routine traffic stop went wrong; a scenario that is occurring more frequently to people of color all across the nation. The first initial accounts were given by the UC Police Chief, Jason Goodrich, who claimed, that Officer Ray Tensing stopped Sam Dubose because of a missing front license plate. When he approached Mr. Dubose vehicle and asked for his Driver’s License he claimed, that Mr. Dubose instead handed the officer a bottle of alcohol. Chief Goodrich explained, that Officer Tensing then asked for Mr. Dubose to exit the vehicle and a struggle began while Mr. Dubose was still in his car. He said that Mr. Dubose then tried to drive off and that is when Officer Ray Tensing delivered the fatal shot to the head.
In Ohio, officers have a right to take up to 48 hours after any deadly incident to be questioned. The University of Cincinnati Police Department turned over their findings to the Cincinnati Police who then delivered the evidence to the Hamilton County’s Prosecutor’s office. The Prosecutor’s office has in his possession the body camera video of the incident and an independent video from a residence that was across the street from where the incident occurred.
The family of Sam Dubose and supporters from the community has been active in public protest at City Hall and the Prosecutor’s office, demanding answers surrounding the shooting. People who knew Sam Dubose said he was a good man who loved his children and cared about others in the community. His death struck a chord because he encountered and touched many in his lifetime in a positive way. His love ones are in disagreement with the accounts given and even more disturbed that Sam Dubose is gone because of a license plate. The shooting happened during the day where many in the neighborhood, adults and children, witnessed the encounter. Some witnesses have said that after Mr. Dubose was shot he was dragged out of the car from the passenger side and handcuffed. There was no paramedic called immediately to offer any aid. There is also claims that Sam Dubose lifeless body laid covered on the ground for hours even during a severe thunderstorm.
The family has not respectfully been provided the opportunity to view the final moments of their love one’s death. If for no other reason, the family at least deserve that right. Hamilton County’s Prosecutor, Joe Deters, has denied access of the video to the family and the public by first claiming that the release would “taint the grand jury process”. Oddly enough, his concerns to withhold video were never this prevalent when the accused is a person of color. It wasn’t too long ago when the city had constant video loops of the Fountain square incident that allegedly involved black youth assaulting a white man who drunkenly had spouted out racial slurs. Joe Deter’s wasn’t worried about “tainting a grand jury” when he added his personal bias toward the alleged perpetrators of being “soulless,” and “unsalvageable.” There wasn’t a shred of reluctance to prevent
images of his son being assaulted by perpetrators from the public to ensure a fair and non-bias trial.
After much push from the family, civil rights leaders, and the media to release the video he came out and said condescendingly, “if you do not want to look at the law and just use your common sense, it should be clear why we are not releasing the video only a few days after the incident occurred…” Well Joe, we know about Ohio’s Open Record Law, ORC 149.43 Availability of public records for inspection and copying and we know that your past practice isn’t consistent with withholding video images after an investigation. On July 24th, a lawsuit was filed to the Ohio Supreme Court by multiple news media outlets, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Associated Press, WCPO, WLWT, WXIX, and WKRC to force Deters to release the tape under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
Prosecutor Joe Deters continues to offer his “double standard” brand of prosecution that mainly protects those who are white, wealthy and well connected. No one should have to meet all or one of those standards in order to receive a fair shot at Justice. Selective enforcement of the law has been the catalyst to the broken justice system we see today. It is one of the major components to why black and brown people predominantly fill the overcrowded jails and prisons at taxpayers’ expense. When you have a prosecutor who is inconsistent in his performance of prosecution than you get a system overwhelmed with disparity and injustice. No community should accept bias from anyone in authority of the law because it only corrupt the judicial system that is suppose to be based on fairness all of the time and not just sometimes.
We have seen this scenario played out over and over; where families don’t receive justice and their love one dies in vain because of political, personal, and even racial bias. Joe Deters is not fooling anyone on his intentions for this case. Officer Ray Tensing fits his formula for protection, despite being the perpetrator, whereas Samuel Dubose, the victim, does not. For many, it is “common sense” to why Joe Deters wont release the tape now.