CINCINNATI (AP) — A University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot a man he stopped over a missing license plate said he was being dragged by the man’s vehicle and had to fire his weapon, according to a police report and the officer’s radio call released Thursday.
The university released the police report and audio from Officer Ray Tensing’s call after Sunday’s shooting of Samuel Dubose. Tensing can be heard on the call yelling “Shots fired. Shots fired” and asking for a medic for a gunshot wound to the head.
“He took off on me,” Tensing says on the call. “I discharged one round.” He says it struck the man in the head.
Authorities say Tensing spotted a car driven by Dubose and missing the front license plate, which is required by Ohio law. They say Tensing stopped the car and a struggle ensued after Dubose, 43, refused to provide a driver’s license and get out of the car. Authorities say the officer fired the shot during the struggle.
Dubose’s death comes amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with black suspects, especially those killed by officers. Dubose was black; Tensing is white. Authorities haven’t said whether race is a consideration in their investigation.
The police report released Thursday said Tensing told officers responding to his radio call that he was attempting a traffic stop when “at some point, he began to be dragged by a male black driver who was operating a Green Honda Accord.”
“Officer Tensing stated that he almost was run over by the driver of the Honda Accord and was forced to shoot the driver with his duty weapon,” according to the report.
The report states the car came to a final stop after the shooting and responding officers found the driver slumped motionless with a gunshot wound to the head. Police determined the man was dead.
Tensing complained of pain to his left arm, and the back of his pants and shirt “looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface,” the report stated.
Tensing was then taken to a hospital.
A Dubose relative did not immediately return a call for comment on the report.
The release of the report and the audio came a few hours after Dubose’s family and supporters held a protest calling for release of video from the shooting.
About 20 people protested outside Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters’ office. They held signs with slogans including “Justice for Samuel Dubose” and repeatedly chanted for Deters to “release that tape.”
Dubose’s cousin, Ebony Johnson, said protests will continue until police body-camera footage is released. “We’re here because we want answers, and we want justice,” she said.
But Deters stood by his decision not to release the video until the investigation is finished. “The law supports our position to not release the video,” he said in a statement Thursday.
In refusing the request to release the video, Deters said authorities need time to do a thorough investigation and to ensure the grand jury process isn’t tainted.
Also Thursday, state Sen. Cecil Thomas issued a statement calling for Deters to release the video.
“The family of Mr. Dubose deserves answers sooner rather than later,” said Thomas, D-Cincinnati.
Tensing is on paid leave and hasn’t responded to messages left for him at the police department. A phone listing for him could not be found.
A university statement Thursday evening said that beginning this past Monday UC police were conducting traffic stops only within the boundaries of the school’s campuses, until further notice. City police have agreed to increase their patrols outside the campuses’ boundaries in the interim, the statement said.