Unarmed Cincinnati Man Sam DuBose Shot By Campus Police After Traffic Stop

July 21st 2015

Sam Dubose, an unarmed, 43-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer on Sunday when he was pulled over about a mile from campus. Officer Ray Tensing apparently observed that Dubose was driving without a front license plate, and though some details remain unclear, the encounter turned violent when Dubose allegedly refused to exit the vehicle and attempted to drive away.

Update: Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Indicted for Murder In Shooting of Sam Dubose

University police chief Jason Goodrich said that Tensing "asked Mr. Dubose multiple times to provide a license." When he failed to do so, a struggle ensued through the car door and as Dubose began to drive off, he was fatally shot in the head.


Tensing, who claimed that he was knocked to the ground prior to the shooting, has been placed on administrative leave following the incident.

Cincinnati police Lt. Col. James Whalen said on Monday that, to the best of his knowledge, Dubose was not in possession of a weapon. "Police are reviewing footage from Tensing's body camera and surveillance from a nearby building," the Daily Beast reported.

In yet another example of a deadly, police-involved shooting that transpired after a routine traffic stop this month, the death of Dubose, a father of 13, has garnered national attention.

Family and friends of Dubose arranged a memorial service for him on Monday; his mother, Audrey Dubose, told reporters that the shooting was "unjustified."

"My son had no business getting killed. I would love for the police officer that did this to let me know how could he put a gun to a human being's head, any human being, not just my son."

Ebony Johnson, a cousin of Dubose, said that she is concerned that the public will falsely interpret information about Dubose's "lengthy rap sheet" and suspended license. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that in the past 20 years, Dubose has been charged more than 75 times in Hamilton County. Most of the charges were non-violent and included driving without a license, joyriding, having tinted windows that were too dark, and misdemeanor drug possession. In 2013, an assault charge was dismissed. He has faced eviction seven times and in January, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles had his license suspended indefinitely. 

Regardless of what he was convicted for in the past, Johnson said, Dubose's record cannot be a justifiable reason for his death. 

"People see an arrest record like that and they automatically say, 'Oh, that's why they killed him,'" Johnson told The Enquirer. "It was like that. He's never been violent."

Both the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Police Department are investigating what led to Dubose's killing, and as the Daily Beast noted, this is not the first police-involved incident of its kind. In 2011, an unarmed UC student, Everette Howard, Jr., died after a campus officer stunned him with a Taser. The 18-year-old's family received a $2 million settlement, and campus police agreed to suspend the use of Tasers on its police force.

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