Unarmed Black Man Samuel Dubose Shot Dead by University of Cincinnati Police Officer
An unarmed black motorist pulled over for a missing license plate was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer on Sunday night, leaving his grieving loved ones looking for answers.
WCPO reports Samuel Dubose, 43, was shot in the head after being stopped at Vine and McMillan near the UC campus by UC Officer Ray Tensing, who noticed the front license plate of the victim’s vehicle was missing, at around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Details of what led Tensing to shoot Dubose remain murky, although UC Police Chief Jason Goodrich told reporters at a Monday news conference that Dubose refused to exit his vehicle, leading to a struggle.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Tensing asked Dubose for his driver’s license, which he could not provide because it had been suspended indefinitely in January by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 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. The shooting victim managed to drive a block before his vehicle came to a stop on the sidewalk at Rice and Valencia.
NBC News reports the Cincinnati Police Department has taken over the investigation into the fatal shooting at the university’s request. Cincinnati Police Lt. Colonel James Whalen, who is leading the investigation, said Dubose was not armed. When asked what caused Tensing to shoot him, Whalen told reporters that “we haven’t had a chance to talk to the officer yet to find that out.”
According to court records, Dubose had been charged with 55 offenses before his death. In addition to being charged 13 times for not having a driver’s license and four times for not having a proper license plate, he was also charged with driving with a suspended license eight times and had more serious charges against him, including drug abuse, domestic violence and assault. The assault charges were later dismissed.
The slain man’s relatives said they hope his lengthy rap sheet doesn’t cloud people’s judgment of the case at hand.
“People see an arrest record like that, and they automatically say, ‘Oh, that’s why they killed him,’” 38-year-old Ebony Johnson, Dubose’s cousin, told the Enquirer. “It wasn’t like that. He’s never been violent.” Johnson said what people should be asking is how a routine traffic stop ended with her cousin’s death.
“Everybody in the community loved Sam. He was so helpful, and he was always around,” friend and neighbor Hadassah Thomas told WLWT. “He used to baby-sit for my daughter. What men do that?”
“He didn’t carry a gun, so why did he get shot?” asked Thomas.
Dubose reportedly had more than a dozen children.
“(He was) energetic, he just liked being around people. He made everybody that he was around just feel so good about themselves,” his 17-year-old son told WCPO. “When you’re around him you feel like you’re amazing, you’re on top of the world or something.”
Family and friends said that Dubose was a peaceful man.
“My son was not a violent person,” mother Audrey Dubose told a crowd gathered for a Monday night prayer vigil at the site of the fatal police encounter. “He got stopped a lot, but he never tried to fight.”
“It was unjustified. My son had no business getting killed,” Dubose told reporters after the event. “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.”
“I would love to know just what happened,” Johnson said, adding that Dubose had recently been ill and hospitalized. “He was meek and mild and so peaceful. There’s no way he could struggle and fight.”