Ray Tensing, the University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed unarmed black man Samuel Dubose in July 2015, was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag under his uniform at the time of the shooting.
Cincinnati.com reports prosecutors presented the T-shirt as evidence on Friday in the trial of 26-year-old Tensing, who is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 19 incident. Dubose, 43, was stopped while driving in Cincinnati’s Mt. Auburn neighborhood due to a missing front license plate. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Tensing asked Dubose for his driver’s license, which he could not provide because it had been suspended indefinitely in January 2015. Instead, Dubose allegedly handed Tensing a bottle of alcohol. According to police, the two men struggled before Tensing drew his gun and shot Dubose once in the head.
Post Falls, Idaho Police Chief Scot Haug, a use of force expert, testified for the prosecution on Friday that Tensing acted in a “technically unsound” manner when he reached into Dubose’s 1998 Honda Accord to “knock out” the ignition key. Haug also said Dubose posed no serious threat of harm to Tensing when the officer shot him. During cross-examination, Tensing attorney Stew Mathews asked Haug if he would agree the situation was tense, rapidly evolving and uncertain. While conceding that Dubose was partially to blame for the escalation, Haug opined that “the officer, based on his decision at the time, escalated the situation and then reacted to that escalation.”
Tensing told investigators he feared for his life during the encounter, during which he claims he was dragged by Dubose’s car. Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters, however, called the traffic stop a “chicken crap stop” and said DuBose was “purposefully killed.” Two additional officers, Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt, were placed on administrative leave after police body camera footage called into question their spurious corroborating claim that Tensing shot Dubose in self defense after being dragged by his car. When officially interviewed, Kidd and Lindenschmidt admitted that neither of them saw Tensing being dragged by Dubose’s car.
If found guilty of murder, Tensing could face 15 years to life in prison. A manslaughter conviction could result in three to 11 years behind bars.
The University of Cincinnati reached a $4.85 million settlement with the Dubose family earlier this year. In addition to the payment, the university apologized and agreed to provide free undergraduate tuition for all of Dubose’s 12 children.