The July 19 fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose by a University of Cincinnati police officer during a traffic stop was entirely preventable, says an independent review of the shooting the university ordered. The report said that while Officer Ray Tensing’s initial interaction with DuBose was calm and appropriate, he eventually exercised poor judgment that only heightened the risk of someone being seriously hurt or killed.
Tensing was indicted on murder charges in the DuBose shooting after video footage of the incident caught on a police body camera was released. The shooting of DuBose, who was black, by a white police officer raised racial tensions further amid a nationwide wave of such killings. The University of Cincinnati hired the professional investigations firm Kroll Inc. of New York City to conduct an independent review of the shooting.
After the initial stop, Tensing asked DuBose for his license, which he said he did not have on him. Tensing then asked DuBose to step out of the car while also trying to open the car door, causing DuBose to try to shut the door.
“Rather than de-escalating the encounter and allowing Dubose to drive away and subsequently calling in a request for assistance, Tensing escalated the situation by improperly reaching into the car in an attempt to restrain Dubose,” the report said. “This violated standard police practice, critical to officer safety, which is taught as part of basic training in the police academy and is reinforced by [university] field training officers on patrol with officers in training.”
The report also stated Tensing escalated the situation further when he drew his gun within one to two seconds of when DuBose started his car and tried to drive away, even though DuBose posed no immediate threat to him. Tensing had said he shot DuBose because he feared for his life and that he was being dragged by the car, but the report found no evidence that Tensing was dragged.
The report said that DuBose didn’t help the situation by starting his car and trying to drive away, but that Tensing set in motion the events that led to DuBose’s death by reaching into the car.
— Lee Bailey (@eurweb) September 8, 2015
“The report from Kroll provides a road map for the university and our senior public safety staff to work closely with the police chief and our officers to implement change, to make our agency more responsive to community concerns, better trained, more diverse, and a model for urban university policing,” James Whalen, director of public safety for the University of Cincinnati, said of the report.