A University of Cincinnati police officer, who shot and killed a man during a routine traffic stop was indicted for murder, the Hamilton County prosecutor announced today. Prosecutor Joseph Deters called the shooting "the purposeful killing of another person" during a news conference.
"I'm treating him like a murderer," Deters said of Officer Ray Tensing, who shot 43-year-old Samuel Dubose on 19 July. Dubose was stopped by Tensing near the University of Cincinnati campus because his vehicle did not have a front licence plate.
Deters said Tensing "wasn't dealing with someone who was wanted for murder. He was dealing with someone without a front licence plate."
During the traffic stop, Dubose allegedly refused to provide a driving licence and instead produced an open alcohol bottle. UC Police Department Chief Jason Goodrich told reporters last week that a struggle ensued and Tensing was knocked to the ground. Goodrich said Tensing then fired one shot into Dubose's head.
However, Deters said Tensing's account of the incident was contradicted by video evidence, which showed Tensing shooting Dubose without provocation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"He was just slowly rolling away," Deters said. "He [Tensing] wasn't dragged."
Deters released footage from Tensing's body cam of the encounter and subsequent shooting. The University of Cincinnati cancelled classes today, with the city expecting protests following the video's release.
"I have been doing this for 30 years," Deters said. "This is the most asinine act I have ever seen a police officer make."
He said the footage "shocked" him and made him upset over what it would mean to the community. "It's just bad. It's just bad what he did and it shouldn't have happened," he said.
If convicted, Tensing could be sentenced to life in prison, Deters told reporters. However, he said there was no evidence that the shooting was racially motivated. Tensing was placed on paid administrative leave, ABC News reported.
"This guy didn't deserve to be tased and he certainly didn't deserve to be shot in the head," Deters said of the victim.
According to ABC News, Dubose's mother, Audrey Dubose said during a press conference following the indictment announcement that she could forgive the police officer who killed her son.
"I can forgive him. I can forgive anybody. God forgave us," she said. She added, "I want everybody to just lift up their heads in prayer, and thank god because this one did not go unsolved and hidden."