Cincinnati — Former University of Cincinnati Campus Police Officer Ray Tensing will not be held accountable for killing motorist and father Samuel DuBose just off campus nearly two years ago, because — despite a Grand Jury indictment for manslaughter — the trial jury remained deadlocked after deliberating for a full five days.
DuBose was pulled over for a front license plate violation — one which, in many states, would not even have been a code violation.
Now, this hotly disputatious killing will join a lengthy list of similar questionable deaths at the hands of a collective American police force eager to shoot first, ask questions later — and never take responsibility for the most grievous of wrongdoings.
“The evidence shows there was no danger to Ray Tensing when he made the decision to go for his gun,” prosecutor Seth Tieger argued in a closing statement quoted by the New York Times on Monday. “Sam DuBose was trapped in that car during that stop, and he was an easy target when his car became his coffin.”
“In his first trial, jurors were evenly split: Four jurors thought Tensing was guilty of murder, four thought he was guilty of voluntary manslaughter and four thought Tensing was not guilty, according to Prosecutor Joe Deters,” local WCPO reports.
“The prosecution filed a motion to add reckless homicide — a lesser charge — to the two-count indictment.”
Incidentally, The Free Thought Project predicted this outcome last week in the wake of the first hung jury in Tensing’s trial with an article titled, “Get Ready – Sam Dubose’s Killer Set to be Next Cop to Walk Free for Murdering a Citizen on Video.”
In July 2015, Officer Tensing stopped DuBose around 6:30 in the evening, as his vehicle lacked a front license plate — something required in Ohio and a smattering of other states.
Tensing, an officer with the University of Cincinnati force — which had an arrangement with the City of Cincinnati to overstep the technical bounds of the school — decided to make the stop after following the motorist for about one mile.
“Police said Officer Tensing asked repeatedly to see the man’s driver’s license, but he ‘produced a bottle of alcohol inside the car,’ instead, said University police chief Jason Goodrich in a press conference,” the Anti-Media reported at the time.
ABC News reports, “According to The Associated Press, Tensing and his defense attorney, Stewart Mathews, have argued that, at the traffic stop, DuBose stepped on the accelerator while Tensing’s arm was trapped. The defense says Tensing, who pleaded not guilty, was scared DuBose would use his car to kill him, so Tensing acted reasonably to try to stop the threat.”
Video footage from the dash camera inside a patrol car on scene disputed police accounts of the stop — showing DuBose, perhaps panicked, indeed pulling away from the stop prematurely, but not placing Tensing in danger.
In short, it appeared DuBose simply wanted to flee — not harm the officer in any way.
Prosecutors had argued video showed the officer firing into DuBose’s vehicle just one second after he began to pull away — meaning Tensing could not possibly have feared for his life.
“Tensing wasn’t in reasonable fear of his life when he made the decision to shoot DuBose,” they contended, according to the AP.
“This office has probably viewed upwards of hundreds of police shootings, and this is the first time that we’ve thought this is without question a murder,” stated Prosecutor Joe Deters in a press conference just after the killing. “It was so unnecessary for this to occur,” he said, adding that DuBose was “subdued” and Tensing had noted the license plate number, so should not have had reason to pursue, much less fire upon, the car.
DuBose’s thirteen children have been left without the man who had turned his life around immediately before Tensing ripped their loving father from their lives.
At least some members of yet another jury in yet another trial for senseless killing by police have in essence found yet another hapless cop, afraid of his own shadow, perfectly justified in stealing the life of a Black man — ultimately due to the existence of yet another meaningless, excessive law.
This is untenable. It cannot continue. This week, police barbarism — and, worse, its ignorant impunity — has been put on trial and found a perfectly acceptable state of affairs for the United States in 2017.
But this isn’t acceptable.
Policing in America will have to endure sweeping, unapologetic reform in the use of force, interactions with the public, training, traffic stops, and morality versus legality — if, that is, they don’t want to be viewed as an enemy of the people.
If not, police impunity and senseless killing will produce one consequence U.S. foreign policy is beginning to comprehend in full — blowback. And it — like the excessively violent police — won’t be pretty.