A University of Cincinnati campus police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man was charged with murder, the Hamilton County prosecutor said Wednesday.
Prosecutor Joseph Deters said at a news conference that the death of 43-year-old Samuel Dubose was unnecessary and “senseless.” He added that the officer that shot Dubose, Ray Lensing, never should have been a police officer, Reuters reports.
“People want to believe that Mr. Dubose had done something violent towards the officer — he did not. He did not at all. I feel so sorry for his family and what they lost, and I feel sorry for the community, too,” Deters said.
Tensing’s attorney said the officer, Stew Matthews, feared for his life. He was dragged by Dubose’s car, according to CNN, and he “thought he was going to get sucked under and killed.” Matthews thought his client was being “thrown under the bus.”
If Tensing is convicted, he could face prison for life, Deters said in a press conference. Police said that Tensing, 25, was also charged with voluntary manslaughter. He surrendered around 2 p.m. EDT. He has been fired from his position and is expected to be arraigned Thursday.
Tensing shot Dubose after he was pulled over for not having a front license plate on July 19. The officer said he was forced to fire his gun after he was almost run over.
Deters played a body camera video Deters played for reporters that showed Tensing running after the slow-moving vehicle Dubose was in after the traffic stop. Deters claimed Tensing was not dragged by the car. Deters was asked about a second police officer who agreed with Tensing’s report of the incident, and he said his office was investigating those claims.
Dubose’s mother, Audrey Dubose, said that she was thankful everything was “uncovered.” “I thought it was going to be covered up,” she said. She added that she can forgive Tensing. c
This is the latest incident in a series of fatal police confrontation incidents across the country that has raised questions concerning police force and minorities. As a result, city officials have prepared for possible protests and the University of Cincinnati has shut down. And the shooting has brought the university’s policing efforts to the top of conversation.