By Justin Madden
(Reuters) - The former chief of the University of Cincinnati police force encouraged aggressive use of traffic stops to look for guns and drugs, according to a report by a consultant reviewing the department after a white officer shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop last year.
Former University of Cincinnati Police Chief Jason Goodrich, who resigned in February amid an internal review, pushed the department's officers to make more traffic stops, according to the report prepared for the school in February by the consulting firm Exiger and released this week.
Goodrich and the department's second highest ranking officer, Major Tim Thornton, who also resigned, said they were unaware of the reason for the surge in traffic stops, the review said.
Goodrich could not be reached for comment and a university spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment.
Exiger said Goodrich and Thornton were untruthful with both Exiger and the university administration, "misrepresenting their knowledge as to significant increased use of off-campus traffic stops by UCPD officers during the chief’s tenure.
"It was clear that Chief Goodrich embraced the aggressive use of such stops as part of his policing philosophy," Exiger added.
Exiger found traffic stops and traffic citations increased by almost 400 percent after Goodrich took over as chief in November 2014.
Exiger said traffic stops prior to Goodrich's arrival averaged about 86 a month but then hit about 271 a month. In the two months prior to the shooting of DuBose, stops and citations were at an all-time average high of 412 stops and about 392 citations.
The resignation of the officers came during the review of an off-campus traffic stop last July 19 during which former officer Raymond Tensing shot and killed Samuel DuBose.
Tensing claimed he was being dragged by DuBose's car during an attempted escape but Tensing’s body camera footage as well as an investigation concluded the car was barely moving, if at all, when Tensing fired.
A grand jury later indicted Tensing for murder. He pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bond, facing a potential life sentence. His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 24.
Police use of lethal force, especially by white officers against unarmed African-Americans and other minorities, has been the focus of nationwide protests and the killing of DuBose also fueled demonstrations.
An independent report on DuBose's shooting released last September called it "entirely preventable."
(Reporting by Justin Madden in Chicago; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bill Trott)