A grand jury has decided to not indict additional University of Cincinnati police officers involved in the investigation into the death of an unarmed black man who was shot in the head during a routine traffic stop earlier this month, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced Friday.
University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing has already been charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, who was fatally shot within minutes of being pulled over for driving without a front license plate on July 19. But Deters said no charges were warranted against Tensing’s fellow campus police officers, Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt, who responded to the scene.
“These officers have been truthful and honest about what happened and no charges are warranted,” Deters said in a statement.
Kidd and Lindenschmidt were both placed on administrative leave in the wake of the fatal shooting. Tensing has pleaded not guilty to both murder and manslaughter charges. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Kidd and Lindenschmidt testified before the grand jury after being under scrutiny for seeming to corroborate Tensing’s account of the shooting, which was later contradicted by video footage captured by the officers’ body cameras.
According to the incident report filed after the shooting, Tensing claimed that he had been nearly run over by DuBose’s car and was then forced to open fire. But footage from Tensing’s body camera shows otherwise. In the video footage Tensing is seen pulling out his gun after DuBose is unable to present his license and protests when told to take off his seat belt. Tensing fires off a single round, hitting DuBose in the head. DuBose’s body slumps forward with his foot on the gas, propelling the car forward until it crashes down the block.
Kidd and Lindenschmidt were on the scene moments later, guns drawn as Tensing reaches into the car to kill the engine. In additional body camera footage, the officers are heard claiming they saw Tensing be pulled by the car.
“Did you see him being dragged?” a responding officer asks.
“Yes,” University of Cincinnati officer Phillip Kidd says.
In the incident report, Officer Eric Weibel wrote that “Officer Kidd told me that he witnessed the Honda Accord drag Officer Tensing, and that he witnessed Officer Tensing fire a single shot.”
Deters said Kidd and Lindenschmidt later gave in-depth interviews with the Cincinnati police, at which point they said they had not seen Tensing being dragged.
“There was some confusion over the way the initial incident report was drafted but that was not a sworn statement by the officers and merely a short summary of information,” Deters said. “When the officers were specifically asked about what they saw and heard, their statements matched Tensing’s body camera video.”
DuBose’s family had called for charges against the officers. “He was an outright liar. He does not carry the integrity to hold office, and he needs to be fired immediately,” DuBose’s sister, Terina Allen, said Thursday, likely referring to Kidd. ”If the Cincinnati Police and University Police have any stand for integrity, they will fire that officer immediately.”