After evidence was presented to the grand jury early Wednesday, morning July 29th, 2015, the nine member panel that consisted of three African American and six Caucasian jurors came back with a unanimous vote to indict Officer Ray Tensing with charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. Officer Ray Tensing, 26-years old, surrendered himself to the Hamilton County Courthouse shortly after the press conference held by the Hamilton County Prosecutor.
After a week of protest to release the video demanded by the family, supporters and the media, Prosecutor Joe Deters finally released the body camera video during his press conference. Samuel Dubose was killed Sunday, July 19th, 2015 after being pulled over by a University Campus Police Officer for a missing front plate.
After viewing the video it was incredible to see the many discrepancies that were made earlier from the testimony of Officer Ray Tensing who claimed he was dragged by the car. Earlier accounts told the story of Officer Tensing approaching Mr. Dubose vehicle and asking for ID but instead getting a bottle of alcohol. The public was lead with the impression that Sam Dubose was maybe drunk and uncooperative, but the video showed him as mild-tempered, cooperative, and trying to figure out alternative solutions to a minor dilemma. The officer appeared paranoid with and unwillingness to leave the site of Sam Dubose in fear he might flee. Officer Tensing clearly assumed Mr. Dubose was guilty of something and was determined to uncover it. However, his assumption led to a citizen’s rights being violated and to an unlawful use of deadly force.
Officer Tensing had no right to attempt to open his driver side door, especially if he wasn’t being detained or under arrest. When Officer Tensing opened the door, Mr. Dubose closed it back, and maybe as a reflex he turned on his ignition, but in a blink of an eye, Sam Dubose was shot in the face for no valid reason.
It was one of the most unnecessary acts I have ever witnessed. As a citizen, who is African American, behavior like this from an officer is scary. It says to me that no matter what I do, I can be killed by an itchy finger officer and if there is no video or witnesses my life is lost with the thousands of others who never got justice.
The father of 13 children was laid to rest yesterday, July 28th, 2015. The family has suffered a tremendous lost and my heart goes out to them all. Despite this victory it still bittersweet because the family has to now relive those final moments of their love ones death after giving their final farewells yesterday. It is always painful to lose someone so senselessly.
The main reason Cincinnati achieved the first steps toward justice for Samuel Dubose is because of the body camera video, which was implemented for all officers of the University of Cincinnati campus to enforce accountability. Currently, Cincinnati Police Department does not have a body camera program, but Cincinnati’s City Manager, Harry Black has stated that they are working on implementing a program soon they’re just looking for the most efficient way to get them. Many may believe the Hamilton County Prosecutor, Joe Deters deserve credit for not following what seem to be the protocol by most across the nation, to protect the police; however living in Cincinnati and knowing the history with this Prosecutor, he had no choice but to do the right thing because cameras don’t lie. Since cameras don’t lie it makes it hard for prosecutors and police to lie too.
I say body cams are needed more NOW then later because too many people of color are dying or being harmed by bad police and without a witness or video camera there is no one who can speak the truth for the dead. It’s time for body cameras nationwide.