Here at the Banter we strive not to cast judgment on anyone accused of a crime. Under US law, you are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and generally we try to respect that. However, there are certain exceptions to his rule when the evidence is so damning it becomes literally ridiculous to maintain neutrality.
In the case of the horrific shooting of Sam Dubose on July 19th by University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing, the evidence is simply overwhelming. Amazingly, Tensing is pleading not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter, apparently maintaining his defense that Dubose had been dragging him and trying to run him over. Tensing’s attorney Stew Matthews told CNN that he believed the officer feared for his life. “The guy jams the keys in the ignition,” Mathews said. “[Dubose] turns the car on, jams it (into) drive and mashes the accelerator. He wasn’t slowly pulling away. [Tensing] feared for his life. He thought he was going to be sucked under the car that was pulling away from him. He thought he was going to get sucked under and killed.”
Tensing’s body camera video captures Tensing telling other officers the exact same thing:
“I think I’m OK,” he said. “He was just dragging me. I thought I was going to get run over. I was trying to stop him.”
From watching the video of the shooting in real time, Tensing’s claims appear to be extremely far fetched, but it is difficult to tell exactly what is happening given the speed of the exchange. However, when examining the video in slow motion, Tensing’s narrative turns out to be completely and utterly false. A Youtube user named ‘Photography is Not a Crime’ posted the following damning video (WARNING: Extremely graphic shot of Dubose dead in his car at 2:13):
You can see very, very clearly that Tensing reached into the car with his left hand after Dubose turned the ignition on in his car and refuses to undo his seat belt and get out of the car. Tensing then pulled his gun out with his right hand as soon as Dubose tried to push his hand away. Dubose, obviously seeing the gun, tries to shield himself by raising his arm to cover his head, but Tensing grabs the seat belt over Dubose’s chest and shoots him in the head. After the shot, Dubose’s car speeds off with Dubose dead at the wheel.
You can see Tensing discussing the incident with police officers and medics on the scene towards the end of the video, with Tensing lying through his teeth about the order of events, then essentially admitting to murdering Dubose. Here are the two key quotes (the full transcript is here):
1. “I’m not injured, I almost got run over by the car, he took off on me. I discharged one round, struck him in the head.”
2. I thought he was going to run me over, he’s dragging me. Ya, he took off on me, my hand was caught inside. Yes, I fired one round. My fire arm just got caught in the steering wheel or something.
This description is literally impossible when matched with the actual video for the following reasons:
1. Tensing was standing by the side of the car so could not possibly have been in danger of being run over.
2. Tensing was not dragged by the car or Dubose – he shot Dubose before the car started moving (Dubose had only just turned the ignition on), and was grabbing Dubose’s seatbelt himself.
3. Tensing rolled off to the side of the car after it sped off. If he had been in danger of being run over or dragged, he would be rolling over the hood of the car and sustained more than a ‘tingly’ forearm from the momentum of the car.
4. Tensing’s firearm was clearly not caught in the steering wheel, otherwise how would he have shot Dubose in the head?
It is literally impossible to reconcile Tensing and his attorney’s version of events that led to the tragic death of Sam Dubose with the video evidence, and any defense they concoct cannot be taken seriously by any jury. If Tensing is for some insane reason acquitted of murdering Sam Dubose, expect the city of Cincinnati to burn to the ground. If America thought Ferguson was bad, it has a serious surprise in store should the justice system fail to convict Ray Tensing.
If nothing else, the video evidence of shocking abuse of police power has shown once again the insane violence African Americans are subjected to by law enforcement officers. As DuBose’s sister, Terina DuBose Allen said:
“I think that if there had not been a body camera, that Sam would have been left with the memory of everyone saying he was basically trying to kill a police officer. They would have turned a nonviolent man who was loved into a poster child for violence against police officers.”
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.