The details surrounding Sam DuBose's death have been the topic of intense debate since he was fatally shot by University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing after a traffic stop on July 19. Those details might finally come to light on Wednesday, when Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is expected to release the video recorded by Tensing's body camera. As Cincinnati braces itself for the unrest that will likely follow the release, DuBose's family has focused on remembering their loved one. Who was Sam DuBose, exactly? To his family and friends, he was many things.
As an angry community demanded the release of the video, DuBose's family said their final goodbyes to him on Tuesday, as hundreds gathered for his funeral service at the Church of the Living God in Cincinnati. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the scene inside the church was in stark contrast to the outrage manifesting outside.Reverend Ennis Tait, who conducted the funeral service, told the crowded room:
Despite all the things going on outside — we are not going to dismiss that — but for a few minutes we are going to celebrate the life of Samuel DuBose.
Reverend Tait then asked the crowd to help "fill this house with love." It was not a difficult task, as DuBose's friends and family thought back on the man that he was.
DuBose, who was 43 at the time of his death, was a music producer and aspiring rapper who was very close with his family. The second-oldest of five children, DuBose was the oldest of his siblings, and even though he was often a troublemaker, his mother, Audrey, loved him unconditionally. She told the congregation during the service:
He loved life. He loved freedom. He was impossible. But he brought me so much joy. As much aggravation as he brought, he brought joy.... I loved my son, God knows I loved my son.
DuBose also had a large family of his own. He was the father of 10 children and a grandfather to four grandchildren. According to CNN's Cincinnati affiliate WKRC, DuBose was on his way to watch a movie with his nine-year-old son, also named Samuel, when he was pulled over and killed. The younger Samuel told the news outlet:
He was coming home that night and we had a projector so we were going to watch a movie on it, but we didn't get to do that ... because he died.
And to his friends, he was a passionate leader and founder of the Ruthless Riders motorcycle club, which fostered a riding community that DuBose was close to for years. Al Jenkins, a club member, described DuBose as "Big Dude," who even "on your worst day is going to make you smile." Russell DuBose, a cousin, echoed that sentiment, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer:
He was just an overall good person with a big heart. If I was having a bad day, he was always able to turn it around. He was a joker.
LaLaura "Lovely" Goodwin, another member of the motorcycle club, who spoke with Cincinnati's WLWT News, said she's worried about the public's perception of her friend:
What’s making people so angry is we know him. The public don’t know him. You know, all of a sudden they are going to assume he was a certain kind of person. Because he was black, African-American ... so they got certain perceptions behind that. But actually, he was a very nice, sweet person and he loved his family.
It was his gentle nature that has some family members questioning the events surrounding the arrest. DuBose's first cousin, Ebony Johnson, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that there was no way DuBose could have fought against a police officer:
I would love to know just what happened. He was meek and mild and so peaceful. There’s no way he could struggle and fight.
While the city anxiously waits for the release of the much-debated video, DuBose's family had one request. Reverend Tait told WLWT on behalf of the family:
They don’t want the city to be turned upside down and that issue to be attached to their brother’s life.