Officials and activists applauded Wednesday's indictment of a University of Cincinnati police officer for fatally shooting an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. But some community leaders have expressed concern that the city could erupt in violence – similar to riots that broke out in 2001 after police killed an African-American teenager.
The family of Samuel Debose, the man shot in the head by a white police officer after a traffic stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, has urged the community to continue to remain calm, as it has in a series of demonstrations since the July 19 shooting.
Aubrey DuBose, the victim's brother, said the family is upset but wants any reaction to the case to be nonviolent and done in a way that honors his brother's style.
"Sam was peaceful," Aubrey DuBose told The Associated Press. "He lived peaceful. And in his death, we want to remain peaceful. Like my mom said, let God fight the battle. I'm a lifetime Cincinnatian. I remember 2001. We don't want none of that."
Officer Ray Tensing killed the unarmed Samuel DuBose after stopping him for a missing front license plate, which is required in Ohio but not in neighboring states.
Mr. Tensing's initial report suggested that he shot Mr. Dubose after the driver attempted to drive away, dragging the officer behind the car. Footage from a body camera worn by the officer, released to the public on Wednesday, contradicts that claim.
In the video, DuBose was reluctant to get out of the car and can be heard telling Tensing, "I didn't even do nothing," before reaching for his seat belt. It was then that Tensing fired, just one shot that struck DuBose in the head.
The officer, 25, was jailed Wednesday and fired soon after a grand jury announced the indictment.
City officials have unambiguously criticized his conduct after viewing video footage released from Tensing’s body camera.
"This officer was wrong," Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said, adding that officers "have to be held accountable" when they're in the wrong.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters scoffed at Tensing's claim that he was dragged by DuBose's car, saying the officer "purposely killed him." Using words such as "asinine" and "senseless," the veteran prosecutor known for tough stands on urban crime called it "a chicken crap" traffic stop.
The incident fits into a broader tension surrounding community-police relations in the United States. Violent protests have followed the deaths of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, and several other cities in the past year.
So far at least, this case appears to be different.
The Wednesday evening rally drew a large crowd outside a Cincinnati courthouse. It appeared peaceful with some holding up signs calling for justice for DuBose. One man on a bullhorn stressed, "We're not going to riot."
This report includes material from the Associated Press.