An internal review released Sept. 11 by the University of Cincinnati found that the July 19 shooting death of unarmed black motorist Samuel DuBose by UC police officer Ray Tensing was “entirely preventable” and resulted from tactical mistakes made by Tensing. The report also says Tensing made misleading and untrue statements about that incident.
The report, prepared by an outside investigative company called Kroll, utilizes witness testimony, Tensing’s body camera footage and other evidence to reconstruct the events that led up to DuBose’s shooting death.
While the report finds that Tensing’s initial stop of DuBose for a missing license plate was lawful, it also says that Tensing subsequently engaged DuBose in a way that created an escalating situation as DuBose refused to produce a driver’s license or exit his vehicle.
Using a frame-by-frame breakdown of Tensing’s body camera footage, the report found that Tensing reached into DuBose’s car even when DuBose posed no threat to him. It also shows that Tensing’s arm was not caught in the car’s steering wheel, as the officer claimed, and that DuBose’s car did not start moving until after Tensing shot him in the head.
The report issues a number of recommendations to prevent future incidents. Many of the recommendations involve further training to prevent the mistakes Tensing made at the moment of the stop, but a few also address the wider problems with UC’s policing in neighborhoods around the university. The first two recommendations concluding the report suggest UC and the city of Cincinnati consider limiting campus cops’ ability to patrol off campus and also reassess the entire mission of the campus police force.
Kroll’s preliminary assessment of the UCPD is that, while it does many things well, as a department it lacks the experiential skill sets necessary to perform all of the operational requirements of urban policing, which requires the training and experience to not only conduct routine traffic stops, but also to investigate serious crimes, engage diverse multi-ethnic communities, and patrol areas of the city not affiliated with the university or its mission.
DuBose›s death occurred in an isolated corner of Mount Auburn, about a mile from campus. Questions about off-campus policing come as the university has beefed up its police force and increased the number of tickets it has issued in recent years. As it has done so, disparities in who gets those tickets have widened. UC police records show that 62 percent of the 932 tickets given by UC police through July this year went to black motorists. In 2012, blacks got 43 percent of UC police tickets.
Tensing was indicted on murder and manslaughter charges in connection with DuBose›s death. His trial was scheduled for next month, but has been postponed until an as-yet-unannounced later date.