July 23, 2015 - 4:19 pm
By Steve Bittenbender
CINCINNATI — A grand jury was seated in Cincinnati on Thursday as prosecutors consider whether to bring charges against a university police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a traffic stop over the weekend.
University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing shot and killed Samuel Dubose, 43, on Sunday evening after pulling him over near the school because his car lacked a license plate, police and city officials said.
The grand jury began hearing “preliminary information” on the case on Thursday, said Julie Wilson, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, as protesters called for the release of video from Tensing’s body camera.
Tensing, who is white, said he was forced to shoot Dubose because he was almost run over by him, according to a document released by the school on Thursday.
The report also indicated that at least one other campus officer witnessed the shooting.
“Looking at Officer Tensing’s uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface,” Sergeant Eric Weibel wrote in his report.
Prosecutor Joe Deters has denied requests to release the video until the investigation concludes, which could happen by the end of next week.
“It should be clear why we are not releasing the video only a few days after the incident occurred,” Deters said. “The grand jury has not seen the video yet and we do not want to taint the grand jury process. The video will be released at some point, just not right now.”
The incident followed a series of fatal police confrontations across the United States that sparked demonstrations and raised questions about police use of force against minorities.
In Texas, officials are investigating the recent death of Sandra Bland, a black woman found hanging in a jail cell three days after she was arrested following a routine traffic stop. A prosecutor said on Thursday an autopsy supported the medical examiner’s initial ruling of suicide.