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Cincinnati officer who fatally shot black motorist called 'extremely proactive'

The police officer who shot a man to death after a traffic stop was described in an annual review as being "extremely proactive" with traffic enforcement.
Police officers stand behind crime scene tape. (Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)
Police officers stand behind crime scene tape.

The University of Cincinnati police officer who shot a man to death after a traffic stop was described in an annual review this year as being "extremely proactive" with traffic enforcement.

It was unclear whether that was meant to be high praise or an indication that he was overzealous in his policing. But a supervisor said the officer, Ray Tensing, "only meets the standards when it comes to community service," according to records released by the university.

The supervisor wrote that Tensing should interact with the public more outside of traffic enforcement to improve his demeanor.

RELATED: Black man Samuel Dubose shot in head by Cincinnati cop Ray Tensing

On Sunday night, Tensing shot and killed motorist Samuel Dubose, who was unarmed and in his car, allegedly after a brief struggle, according to university and city police.

Tensing had pulled Dubose over for a missing front license plate. Moments later, Dubose was shot once in the head, police said. The officer has been placed on administrative leave.

Cincinnati police said Wednesday that they have finished their investigation and will present evidence to the Hamilton County prosecutor to decide on criminal charges.

Cincinnati police said video from Tensing's body camera confirmed a struggle. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said she wasn't sure whether the video would be released even after the investigation.

Tensing joined the university's force in April 2014 after a year with the police department in nearby Greenhills, Ohio. He was given generally positive marks in his annual review at the university, including an overall rating of 3.67, which falls between "satisfactory" and "superior."

In a six-month evaluation last year, he was praised for a positive attitude and for interacting well with the community.

"Tensing is extremely confident with conducting traffic enforcement and has helped other officers in becoming more efficient and knowledgeable concerning traffic codes and tactics," a supervisor wrote.

The university's president, Santa Ono, said Wednesday that while campus police officers get the same state-required training as all other officers, training policies and procedures will be reviewed to ensure best practices.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, who met with Ono on Wednesday, said city police will work with the university on the reforms, including the appointment of a community advisory board to work with campus police.

"A pull-over related to a license plate should not, in the normal course of events, lead to lethal force and the death as it has in this case," Cranley said at a news conference. "Therefore, reform is in order, and it's the right thing to do."

RELATED: Fatal police shooting of unarmed Ohio man under review by prosecutors

Friends and relatives, who said Dubose was the father of 13 children, held a vigil Tuesday demanding to see the video of Sunday's encounter. Another rally was scheduled for Wednesday evening at City Hall.

Nygel Miller, who had known Dubose since kindergarten, called his friend a "very kind guy."

"I know everybody says that about people, but if you take a survey and interview people who knew him, everyone would say that," Miller told NBC News.

"We want justice," he said. "We're tired of losing our loved ones in America."

Tia Edwards, co-chairwoman of Black Lives Matter Cincinnati, told NBC News that a march to the scene of the shooting was in the works for Sunday afternoon, with Dubose's mother and brother at the front of the line.

"There is no reason to kill a man who was literally on his way home and unarmed," Edwards said. "He was no threat at all. He never got out the car. He never was aggressive. He died in the car."

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