University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing was indicted Wednesday for the murder of an unarmed 43-year-old black man, and the body cam video was subsequently released — but what the Sam DuBose video shows is extremely disturbing. According to officials, the video was a crucial piece of evidence that led to Tensing's dismissal and his ensuing indictment on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges. Tensing stopped DuBose, a music producer and aspiring rapper, regarding an issue with his front license plate. The encounter escalated and DuBose was fatally shot.
Following the incident, Tensing said that he was forced to shoot because he feared for his life, and thought that DuBose would run him over. "[Tensing] feared for his life. He thought he was going to be sucked under the car that was pulling away from him," Tensing's lawyer, Stew Matthews, told CNN. "He thought he was going to get sucked under and killed."
But the video that was released on Wednesday tells a very different story of how the father of 10 ended up dead during what started as a very civil traffic stop in which DuBose attempted to comply with all of Tensing's requests.
Warning: The video below contains clear footage of DuBose being shot. If you are uncomfortable watching it, we've broken it down for you below.
Aside from attempting to drive away from Tensing, the video proves that DuBose exhibited no aggressive or incorrect behavior at any point during the traffic stop. On the contrary — he was actually mild mannered, quiet, and courteous to the officer. He had his hands on the steering wheel at all times, except when trying to find his paperwork and identification.
"People want to believe that Mr. DuBose had done something violent towards the officer — he did not," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters told CNN. "He did not at all. I feel so sorry for his family and what they lost, and I feel sorry for the community, too."
The three minute video begins with Tensing approaching DuBose's car. They have an almost friendly back and forth as Tensing asks DuBose, "How's it going, man?" DuBose answers in a similar fashion. When DuBose asks why he was pulled over, Tensing can be heard explaining that there is something wrong with his front license plate. As DuBose begins to look for his driver's license, Tensing notices a bottle on the floor, and inquires about it.
DuBose doesn't miss a beat before reaching down and handing the officer a full, unopened bottle of gin. Tensing then places it on top of the roof of the car, and requests to see DuBose's license again. "I have a license, you can run my name," DuBose answers calmly as he continues looking through his pockets. "Do you have it on you? I'm asking a direct question," Tensing says.
DuBose says "I thought I did," and then he asks, "What did you pull me over for?" Tensing responds, "Again, your front tag." At this point, DuBose looks confused, but is not aggressive, rude, or overly loud. "But it's not illegal to not have a front tag," he claims. Tensing tells him that it is, and then requests to see the license again. "Do you have a license on you?" he asks.
DuBose repeats that he does have a license and that the officer can run his name, but says he doesn't appear to have his ID on him. "Be straight up with me, are you suspended?" Tensing asks. DuBose says he is not suspended, Tensing asks why he doesn't have his license on him then, and DuBose gestures up the road and says something about how he was going to his house, which is in the area.
Tensing says, "While I figure out if you have a license or not, take your seat belt off..." as he reaches down and attempts to open DuBose's car door. DuBose holds his car door closed so the officer cannot open it and seems to start his car. Tensing begins yelling for him to stop, and the camera shakes as Tensing can clearly be seen pulling his gun, reaching it inside the car, and firing.
The gunshot goes off, DuBose's body falls limp, and the car begins moving. It appears as though Tensing has fallen on the ground. When he gets up he begins running, yelling something that sounds a lot like, "I'm hit," or "I hit." Another officer is running too, yelling that shots have been fired. The two officers approach DuBose's car, which has crashed just a few feet down the road, and has the engine still roaring.
Although both officers initially have their guns out and aimed toward the car, the second officer can be seen lowering his weapon and requesting medical aid. Tensing reaches up, and then the screen goes black.
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