Thursday, July 30, 2015

What People Care About This Week: Samuel Dubose Murder

As of today 671 people have been killed by police in the United States. When I typed in “How many people have been killed by...” the sentence filled itself in with ...”ISIS” and “...the police in 2015.” On July 19th 43 year old Samuel Dubose of Cincinnati, Ohio and father of thirteen was shot and killed by 25 year old officer Raymond Tensing during a traffic stop over a missing plate. The entire incident was recorded on a body camera which once again made me want to shout at everyone about how having a camera on every cop will not stop them from beating or killing anyone the same way surveillance cameras don't stop crime. Is it better that people that commit these crimes can be caught because there is footage? Yes. But that doesn't bring back someone who was killed for no reason.

Prosecuting attorney Joseph T. Deters stated “It was a senseless, asinine shooting. This doesn't happen in the United States, okay? This might happen in Afghanistan. People don't get shot for a traffic stop.” He also said “This office has probably reviewed upwards of hundreds of police shootings, and this is the first time that we've thought this is without question a murder.”

When pulled over by Tensing, Dubose is asked multiple times if he has his license plate number. Dubose says it is in the glove box. It has to be noted that Tensing knew the license plate number because it was on the back of the car, but not the front. Dubose hands over a closed bottle of liquor and Tensing continues to ask for a license number. Tensing tries to pull the car door open and Dubose drives away but not before being shot and coming to a stop. I have included a screen shot from the video after Dubose was fatally shot point blank in the head where you can clearly see the license plate.

In less than two minutes his situation went from Tensing asking “Hey, how's it going, man?” to screaming “Stop!” and killing Dubose. I wondered why the images I found of Dubose were either an older one or a mugshot so I checked. Between 1995 and 2009 Dubose had been in trouble for driving without a license 13 times and had it suspended eight times between 2005 and 2011 and failure to display his plate properly four times between 1005 and 2009. Over his lifetime he had 75 offenses.

I know some of you are saying “Well, if he had followed the rules he'd be alive” to which I say “You don't know how this works.” In this situation with this particular cop there was no right answer. He was killed for being afraid when he had every right to be. If you have done nothing wrong and anyone tries to yank your car door open you're going to flee. Dubose was not good at following the rules regarding his vehicle but none of the crimes he was ever in trouble for were violent. None. He didn't even yell when confronted.

Tensing has since been indicted ten days after the shooting and an arrest warrant issued on Wednesday, the 30th of July. Tensing is being charged with voluntary manslaughter and could face 15 years to life in prison. In his report he stated that he was dragged by Dubose when he sped off. If you see the video that's obviously not what happened. Dubose drove away, was shot, Tensing fell to the ground, got up, ran with gun out towards a car with a man that is now dead. Deters has stated that Tensing should have just let Dubose drive away rather than shoot him in the head. Not like they couldn't find the car. The license plate is right there.

Tensing was placed on paid leave after the shooting but of course is now fired. Deters asked “Could you imagine the outrage you would have if this was your kid, if this was your brother, over a stop like this? And he didn't do anything violent towards the officer. He wasn't dragging him. And he pulled out his gun and intentionally shot him in the head.” Sadly I could imagine this being me or a lot of people I know and am related to. Samuel's mother Audrey Dubose she knew the truth would be uncovered in regards to the tapes release being withheld. “I'm so thankful that everything was uncovered.” She believed that her sons death would be covered up and that she could forgive Tensing if he asked for it. She is a far better person than me.

Click here for previous What People Care About This Week.  

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