Tag Archives: Sam Dubose

Update: Second Mistrial Declared; Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Gets Away With Murder of Sam Dubose

For the second time, a jury has stated that it was deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on charges filed against University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing for the July 2015 murder of Sam Dubose. (See videos embedded below for body camera footage of that murder.) The jury initially indicated this morning that it was unable to reach a decision, but were told to go back and continue deliberating. Later this afternoon they returned and stated they were still deadlocked. As a result, Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz has declared a mistrial.

Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, there won’t be a third trial. So that effectively means Tensing has officially joined the ever expanding club of police officers who have gotten away with murder, including three just this week alone (Tensing, Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, and St. Paul Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez).

Of course, in order to have their killings declared justified all police officers need to do is state that they “feared for my life” and in order to get a mistrial they just need one of the twelve members of a jury to buy that rationalization. So that bar is incredibly low and that’s mostly by design. The system itself is tilted heavily in their favor and those running that system not only are their friends and co-workers, but have the further incentive of self preservation to push it even further in that direction.

In Tensing’s case, he claimed that he was in danger of being run over by Dubose as he attempted to drive away from a traffic stop the University of Cincinnati police officer had initiated because of a missing front license plate.

Via NBC News:

Tensing asked DuBose for his driver’s license and registration, which he failed to provide. The officer then ordered him to step out of his car and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused. The car began to pull away

With one hand still inside the car, Tensing yelled, “Stop! Stop!” before firing his gun at DuBose, striking him in the head. The car then began traveling out of control before coming to a stop.

Tensing’s bodycam captured the incident.

The men had a conversation for about one minute and 50 seconds before it escalated with Tensing and DuBose in a struggle. Within just a few seconds, Tensing fired his gun.

Two other officers were on scene, and their body cameras captured other angles of the shooting’s aftermath.

Those alternate angles captured by the other officers on the scene, as well as testimony from experts who examined those videos, contradicted Tensing’s claims that he was being dragged by, and in danger of being run over by, Dubose’s car.

It’s also been questioned whether the stop for something as trivial as a front license plate was merely an excuse used to justify a racially motivated profiling of Dubose. Officer Tensing’s unusually frequent history of traffic stops (when compared to other University of Cincinnati police officers) and the high percentage of minorities involved in those stops bolsters those claims.

Of course, the judges, prosecutors, and media are usually on the side of the cops and the general public is taught from the day they are born to believe cops are heroes that never lie or do anything bad. So it’s not that hard for them to at least find that one juror who will refuse to find a cop guilty, regardless of the actual facts presented during a trial. That’s a big part of why it’s almost impossible to convict a police officer regardless of the actual facts on the rare occasions when they get caught doing something outrageous enough to get charged in the first place.

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Update: Videos of Protester Tased and Arrested at Sam Dubose March in Cincinnati

 Arrests in Cincinnati OH

As previously reported several people, including but not necessarily limited to Talis Gage, Benjamin Virnston, Jordan Freshour and Daniel Joseph, were arrested last night during a march in protest of the murder of Sam Dubose and other instances of Police brutality in Cincinnati. In addition, one protester who was arrested was tased prior to being arrested. Currently, I don’t know the identity of that individual or if he was one of the four arrestees previously mentioned.

Arrests in Cincinnati OhioSince the first post about the arrests, they have been bailed out by Micah David Naziri and are no longer being held. Several videos have also been posted of the arrests, which have been included below. The video at the top was recorded by Ademo and Brian Sumner, who were in attendance for the launch of the Mobile Accountability for Cops (MAC) Tour.

It’s not exactly clear from the videos what the rationalization for the tasing that can be seen on those videos was. It’s been said that it was a response to flipping off the cop, but all you can really see is that cop singling him out, chasing him briefly, and then using the taser on him. What is pretty clear in the video is that the person being assaulted with the taser is not at any point representing any sort of threat to the officer who is attacking him.

We’ll add more updates as information becomes available…

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Breaking: Call Flood for Peaceful Protesters Arrested in Cincinnati

Call Flood in Cincinnati OhioDetails are a little light right now, but apparently as many as six people have just been arrested in Cincinnati, OH after an incident in which a police officer illegally used a taser on a protester who flipped him off during a #BlackLivesMatter/Sam Dubose protest. Among those arrested were  Jordan Freshour, Benjamin Virnston, and Talis Gage Cop Blockers from Ohio. I’ve been told that there were at least three other also arrested, but I don’t currently have names of anyone else. Micah David Naziri, another Cop Blocker who is also involved with Counter Current News, also stated that the police were following him and trying to coerce him into turning over footage of the incidents and arrests that he had recorded. Included below is a video from Chris Harrison, who was also present and witnessed the taser incident.

The Number to call is: (513) 946-6100 ext. 3

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Dashcam Video of Brownsville Police Shooting Released

This video was received via an anonymous submission at the CopBlock.org “submit a story” page. Along with the video, the person submitted this description:

Dashcam-Footage-of-Brownsville-Police-Shooting“In a dashcam video released on September 2nd by the Brownsville Police Department, it is clear that Officer Rolando Trujillo Jr. was not in danger, yet he shot and killed Jose Roman Rodriguez. As the police officer conducted a traffic stop, a passenger fled on foot, while the driver remained inside the vehicle. Once Trujillo approached the car, the driver put the vehicle in drive and the car moved forward slowly. Trujillo then fired into the car, killing Rodriguez.”

The video is obviously very reminiscent of the Sam Dubose murder, in which Officer Ray Tensing, a University of Cincinnati Campus Police Officer, shot Dubose even though he didn’t pose any immediate danger to Tensing, while he was trying to drive away from a traffic stop. In fact, it’s even more obvious in this video that Officer Trujillo is in no real danger of being harmed by the car driving away.

line-bannerDate of Incident: July 17, 2015
Officer Involved in Incident: Officer Rolando Trujillo Jr.
Police Department Involved: Brownsville Police Department
Phone Number: (956) 548-7000

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Local Media Coverage of Shooting:

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Why You Can (and Should) Always Film the Police

There are a lot of reasons why you should always film the police, and citizenrootsmagazine.com’s editor Chad Hankins has an article all about just that. Chad submitted this post, via the CopBlock.org submissions page.

He states:

This is an op-ed piece I wrote about the importance of filming the police, and I have some aggressive sarcasm in there, so it’s not like every other article on the subject. I hope you guys like it and find it worthwhile.

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Cop Kicks WomanThe first time that I saw a camera on a phone I thought it was a stupid idea that would never last. In my defense, those first little camera phones were pretty terrible. The early models had resolution that was less than a megapixel and they cost about $400 (which used to be a lot for a phone for you little bastards who weren’t there, with your internets and your non-VHS porn). I couldn’t imagine how this technology could possibly catch on. What were the benefits of dropping a week’s paycheck on a shitty camera that could call people? I’ve never been more happy to be wrong.

Now we have great cameras placed in high tech phones and they’re both having a threesome with the internet, so we’ve seen a societal vicissitude that has started to level the playing field for ordinary citizens. For those of us who don’t have a badge or a sofa made of hundred dollar bills, this is an amazing thing.

For decades we’ve heard stories coming out of black neighborhoods that seemed like they couldn’t possibly be true. At least not on the scale that they were portrayed. These schoolyard tales seemed like some kind of alternate reality that could only exist in a universe where the Gestapo made it’s way into an Orwellian America. The idea that the police would just harass, beat, and even kill citizens who had done nothing wrong was a pill that was too hard for most of us to swallow. The only window that most people had into this world was the incredibly popular show ‘Cops’ on FOX.

There are a couple of reasons why this is an inaccurate and very foggy window into other people’s interactions with the police. The first is that all of those cops knew that they were going to be filmed, so they could modify their habits accordingly. The scary part is that a lot of them still acted like total dicks, despite this knowledge. Another issue with treating that show as if it was an accurate account of police/civilian interactions is the editing room. They probably weren’t interested in showing officers stopping people illegally, searching them without cause, treating them like criminals, and then letting them go because they hadn’t done anything wrong. Television 101: Only show a cop tazing a shirtless black guy if the tazed guy has actually committed a crime. It makes the whole thing a lot easier for the public to digest if the guy convulsing in the dirt has a .38 in one pocket, and an unlabeled pill bottle full of crack in the other.

Just as ‘Cops’ was starting to take off in the early 90’s, there was a slightly different video of police that got international attention.

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On March 3rd, 1991, the LAPD apprehended California resident and local black driver Rodney King after a high speed chase, and four officers proceeded to beat the living shit out of him. An amateur cameraman named George Holliday caught the whole thing on video, and the officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force by a police officer. With the video, which shows King lying on the ground while all four officers cracked him with night sticks and kicked him repeatedly, it seemed that these guys would have to face justice. After all, everyone was seeing the video on a loop on every major news network across the country. How could these guys possibly get away with it?

After they got away with it,  the historic LA riots started and things got ugly. People were pissed. This kind of video had never gotten this scale of attention. It brought the racial disparity of police interactions to the forefront of everyone’s dinner conversations.

LT John Pike UC Davis Pepper SprayNow we have videos like this all the time. It’s impossible to keep up with the flood of “Unarmed black man shot in back by police!” videos that pop up on the internet every day. It’s a wonderful thing that we all have video cameras in our pockets and we can record cops shooting unarmed people in the back. This kind of full scale civilian surveillance is the only hope that we have to change the narrative on police brutality. The indictments of these uniformed criminals have been far less consistent than the videos of their atrocities, but we’re getting there. We just need to do away with paid leave, and we may see a decrease in these incidents. Getting a paid vacation for shooting someone is a sadist’s wet dream.

It’s not only important to film cops, but it’s 100% legal. Cops can tell you to stop recording. Not legally, they’re just verbally capable of it. You can’t interfere with an investigation, but you can stand clear and film the crap out of them. If they ask you to back up, you have to, but you can do it one step at a time, making sure you don’t lose your shot. That is, if you have the wherewithal and cool as a cucumber disposition required to deal with an agitated cop who wants to mace your ballbag. That’s a personal choice.

Another thing that the police like to do is try to confiscate your phone or tell you that you have to delete the video. Neither of those things are legal. In fact, without a warrant they can’t even force you to show them the video.

An honest cop with a clear conscience won’t ask you to do these things and probably won’t care that you’re filming him. If you do get a cop on the business end of your camera who’s pissed about it, then you’ve just caught yourself a crooked bastard. Don’t underestimate him. He probably wants to take the family to Yellowstone and a bullet in your face has been a proven method for getting the time and the money to make that dream vacation a reality.

The vast social awakening that’s come as a result of videos of police killings (Grey, Garner, Brown, and most recently DuBose) is a direct result of technology that we all have now. Hell, even the AARP flip phone with the giant buttons that your grandma is still learning how to use probably has some form of a camera on it. Now we just need to understand and exercise our rights to use our cameras to keep police accountable. While police are still rarely indicted and barely ever convicted, the message is becoming clear. The judicial system is starting to understand that we have no interest in quietly tolerating the kind of over reaching bullshit that many police officers have gotten away with throughout their entire careers. Filming cops is a scary activity, there’s no doubt about that. They yell, they threaten, they intimidate, but they can’t stop you from doing it. And frankly, there isn’t a damn thing else in our fight. As average citizens we can’t indict, arrest, or fire them. We can just film. With everything that we’ve seen in the last couple of years, it’d be stupid not to.

– Chad Hankins
citizenrootsmagazine.com

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Update: Cincinnati Officer Tensing Pleads Not Guilty, Held on $1Million Bail

Ray Tensing pled not guilty today in a court appearance to murder charges in the fatal shooting of Sam Dubose during a traffic stop. Dubose had been stopped for not having a front license plate. (See below for the body cam videos.) Tensing has also been charged with the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter.

According to ABC News:

Ray-Tensing-mug-and-Sam-DuboseA University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot a motorist during a traffic stop pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges and was ordered jailed on $1 million bond.

People in the courtroom audience erupted into cheers and clapped when officer Ray Tensing’s bond was set at $1 million, drawing the ire of Judge Megan Shanahan.

“Ladies and gentlemen! This is a courtroom,” the judge said sharply.

Tensing is also charged with voluntary manslaughter in the July 19 shooting of Samuel DuBose of Cincinnati, who was stopped for not having a front license plate.

Defense attorney Stewart Mathews said there are two sides to the case and that the much-viewed body camera video of the traffic stop can be interpreted differently from the prosecutor’s version.

He described Tensing as “very depressed” and “in shock,” adding that the officer felt “like he’s been run over by a train from the start of this case.”

Tensing, 25, was fired soon after he was indicted. He had been with the University of Cincinnati for more than a year after starting police work in 2011 in a Cincinnati suburb. He has a UC degree in criminal justice.

The high bail amount, along the indictment itself is a rarity among cops who shoot people. All the attention focused on recent shootings, especially those of unarmed people and, in particular, minorities may have had some impact on that. Use of body cams by the University of Cincinnati police may have also played a big part in that. Obvious discrepancies between the body cam footage and the statements by other officers, as well as Tensing himself in the police report would have made it difficult for the police and district attorney to simply declare this murder justified.

According to the same article, the other officers, who made statements supporting Tensing’s account of the events, have been suspended during an internal investigation and the D.A. Joe Deters has called for the disbandment of the entire U of C campus police department:

Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt are on leave while the university police department conducts an internal investigation, she said.

Body camera footage from the two officers was released Thursday. Kidd can be heard saying he saw Tensing being dragged. And in other footage, Lindenschmidt can be heard telling another officer that Tensing “went down, got tangled in the car and drew his gun and fired.”

In Lindenschmidt’s video, Tensing can be seen on the ground and then getting up. But there is no indication on the video of how of how he ended up on the ground.

Joe Deters, the prosecutor who brought the murder charge, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that both Kidd and Lindenschmidt testified before the grand jury that indicted Tensing.

Deters said the university should disband its department and turn over policing to the city.

It is, of course, paid leave – A.K.A. paid vacation. So some things don’t change, regardless. However, the tendency of police chiefs to automatically defend police officers accused of misconduct, even in deadly shootings, seems to be one of those things that is changing for the better:

“This officer was wrong,” Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said Wednesday, adding that officers “have to be held accountable” when they’re in the wrong.

UPDATE: He’s already managed to raise money for the $100k bond and has been released.

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Previous Posts About the Sam Dubose Shooting on CopBlock.org


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