University of Cincinnati pays family $5.3 million after cop shoots black man
The University of Cincinnati settlement gives the family of Samuel DuBose $4.85 million and free undergraduate tuition for his 12 children.
Cincinnati — The family of a man shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer who pulled him over for not having a front license plate will receive $5.3 million under a settlement with the school.
The deal announced Monday gives the family of Samuel DuBose $4.85 million and promises free undergraduate tuition for his 12 children. The agreement also provides for a memorial commemorating DuBose and an apology from the university.
The 43-year-old DuBose was shot and killed behind the wheel of his car on July 19 during a traffic stop near campus. Officer Ray Tensing has been charged with murder in DuBose's death.
Tensing has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says Tensing feared being dragged under the car as DuBose tried to drive away.
The fatal shooting of DuBose was "not justified" and violated university police department policy, according to an independent investigative report released by the university in September.
The report by Kroll Inc., also Officer Tensing was "not factually accurate" in his account of events during the off-campus traffic stop on July 19, 2015. Kroll found that while Officer Tensing’s initial dealings with Mr. DuBose were appropriate, he then “made critical errors in judgment and exercised poor police tactics that created a hazard of serious bodily injury or death and heightened the risks of a dangerous escalation.”
The DuBose family's attorney disputed the report findings.
"The whole notion that this was a good [traffic] stop, we have real problems with that because we do believe there is a discriminatory traffic stop policy in place," attorney Al Gerhardstein said, according to WCPO-TV, Channel 9 in Cincinnati.
S. Gregory Baker, UC Director of Police Community Relations, acknowledged Tensing's record of stopping black motorists nearly four times as often as whites.
"There was a distinct disproportion in the number of citations he wrote to African Americans as compared to his peer officers," Baker said.
Tensing, 25, grew up in suburban Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2012 with a criminal justice degree. He worked as an officer in the suburb of Greenhills, on either a part-time or full-time basis from April 2011 to last December. Had two performance evaluations showing he met standards and one saying he performed above standards, according to Greenhills police Chief Neil Ferdelman.
Tensing joined the University of Cincinnati police department in April 2014 and received a promotion a year later with a salary boost to $51,600. He received an overall satisfactory rating on his annual performance evaluations. One review comment said he maintains control of his weapons and of "situations he is involved in."
Another comment suggested he was too focused on traffic stops.
"Tensing is extremely proactive when it comes to traffic enforcement, but only meets the standards when it comes to community service. I would like to see him interact more with the public outside of traffic enforcement," the comment said.
The university fired Tensing on Wednesday after the murder charge was announced.
DuBose, 43, attended Cincinnati's Mount Healthy High School and later became a rapper and music producer. His funeral program said he worked on his music and developed other artists in his studio.
He also was an entrepreneur and a motorcyclist enthusiast, the program said. He went by the nickname "Big Dude" and was the founder of a black motorcycle gang, Ruthless Riders.
Mayor John Cranley, who expressed his condolences Tuesday at DuBose's funeral services, said Wednesday: "As they described him, he was a jokester, but he was not a violent man." Samuel DuBose's brother, Aubrey, described him as "peaceful."
Court records show DuBose had a long criminal history of minor traffic infractions such as driving while suspended, traffic light violations, having unauthorized license plates, and also selling and possessing marijuana.
His family said they knew the video recorded by Tensing's body camera would vindicate DuBose, who they say had been unfairly characterized as a "thug."
"I've known him to never, ever run from a police officer," his sister, Terina Allen, said Wednesday. "His record, as bad as anyone wants to make it, proves he has no problem being arrested."
Associated Press Kantele Franko in Columbus contributed to this report.