A former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with the murder of an unarmed black man who he stopped for a missing license plate pleaded not guilty at his initial court appearance on Thursday, and was subsequently released on bond hours.
Ray Tensing fatally shot Samuel DuBose after the victim failed to present his driver’s license after being stopped for a missing license plate. Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan set Tensing’s bond at $1 million.
According to the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Tensing was released from the jail later Thursday, and will appear in court on August 19.
Tensing Should Be Convicted: DuBose’s Family
DuBose’s family demanded that Tensing be convicted earlier in the day of the court appearance, as reported by USA Today.
“If this man doesn’t get convicted, they can shoot me in the head, too,” said Kimberly Thomas, DuBose’s friend.
A Guardian database shows that DuBose’s death was the 637th fatality in the country (and 19th in Ohio) at the hands of the police since January 1. The database further reveals that 27 people have died by police since DuBose’s death on July 19.
Tensing was arrested on Wednesday in connection with DuBose’s death. In the initial report, Tensing said that he was “forced to shoot” the unarmed black man as the victim tried to run over Tensing after failing to comply with the officer’s request of producing his driver’s license.
The body camera video footage, however, showed Tensing firing the fatal shot that killed DuBose and then falling backward. The Hamilton County prosecutor said that the shooting was the “most asinine act that I’ve ever seen a police officer make.”
Tensing’s Lawyer: ‘Two Sides’ To The Story
Tensing’s lawyer, Stewart Mathews, said that the shooter pulled out his weapon because he feared for his life during the confrontation.
“He’s feeling like he’s been run over by a train,” Mathews said.
Nevertheless, Mathews emphasized that there are “two sides” to the story.
“The case will be tried and decided in court,” he said, as reported by TIME.
If the former police officer, who was fired by the University of Cincinnati on Wednesday, is convicted, he could face a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Terina Allen, DuBose’s sister, said that the body camera video footage showed that her brother was innocent and his shooting was unjust.
“Sam would have never did to that police officer what that police officer did to Sam,” Allen said.
The DuBose family lawyer, Mark O’Mara, said there should not have been any bond set.
“This was murder without justification,” he said. “Tensing was in a position of authority and should be held to a higher standard.”
O’Mara has previously represented George Zimmerman in the 2012 Trayvon Martin shooting.
Tensing had been a police officer for four years before he was fired by the University of Cincinnati.
He joined the Greenhills police force in April 2011 on a part-time basis. In March 2013, he became a full-time officer. After being hired by the University of Cincinnati, he continued serving as a part-time officer for the Greenhills police force for eight months.
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