Ohio police, university officials probe police slaying of unarmed black man

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 22, 2015 10:01 PM

By Steve Bittenbender

(Reuters) - The mayor of Cincinnati said on Wednesday a routine vehicle stop should not normally "lead to lethal force and a death" as happened in the killing of an unarmed black man by a white campus patrolman in Ohio.

Samuel Dubose was shot and killed on Sunday evening after University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing pulled him over near the school after observing that the man's car lacked a license plate, police and city officials said.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Dubose could not produce a driver's license and lifted up an alcohol bottle instead. The incident developed into a physical struggle, with Tensing firing his gun once, fatally shooting the unarmed 43-year-old in the head, the paper said.

"As a general matter, a pullover related to a license plate should not, in the normal course of events, lead to lethal force and a death as it has in this case," Mayor John Cranley told a news conference on Wednesday.

Cranley was flanked by University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono, who offered condolences to Dubose's family and friends, and pledged a comprehensive review of police training, policies and procedures.

Tensing has been placed on administrative leave. He did not carry a stun gun, which was banned for use by campus police after a deadly 2011 incident, the Enquirer reported.

Community members held a prayer vigil and erected a makeshift memorial following the incident, with attendees echoing activists who have raised questions about police use of force against minorities in a series of recent incidents across the country.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said on Tuesday his office was "rapidly investigating" the incident and expected to have its assessment complete before the end of next week.

Deters also said he would release footage from Tensing's uniform camera at the completion of his probe.

The newspaper reported that Dubose had been charged with dozens of largely non-violent offenses in Hamilton County over the past 20 years, including driving without a license and misdemeanor drug possession. His license was suspended in January.

"He's never been violent," Ebony Johnson, 38, a cousin, said, according to the Enquirer.

(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Ky.; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Peter Cooney)