The body camera video that captured former University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing’s killing of Sam DuBose tells a very different story from the one Tensing told authorities, according to the prosecutor handling the case.
Joe Deters, the prosecutor for Hamilton County, Ohio, on Wednesday announced murder and manslaughter charges against Tensing, who stopped DuBose on July 19 for not having a front license plate.
In the police report describing the incident, University of Cincinnati officer Eric Weibel, who arrived to provide Tensing with backup, says Tensing told him he was dragged by Dubose's moving car once Dubose started the vehicle and attempted to drive away.
Tensing also reportedly told Weibel he thought he'd be run over by DuBose and fired his weapon to prevent that from happening.
It is true that in the body cam video, Tensing tells the other cops who arrive at the scene that his left arm got caught, possibly in the steering wheel of DuBose's car, as The New York Times notes. This backs up Weibel's account.
But Deters said Wednesday that the video doesn't support that telling of events.
Rather than being dragged by the moving car, Deters said, Tensing "fell backward after he shot [DuBose] in the head."
The video does appear to support Deters' account that Tensing fell backwards after firing the shot.
In the video, Tensing repeatedly asks DuBose if he has a license. DuBose says he has one and it's not suspended, but he doesn't have it on him.
Tensing then asks DuBose to take his seat belt off. At that point, DuBose appears to put his right hand on the key in the ignition, and it sounds as if his car is starting.
Tensing screams, "Stop! Stop!" before firing his gun at DuBose.
The officer falls backwards onto the ground and then gets up and starts running. There's no clear indication that Tensing was dragged before he shot DuBose.
Moreover, only about ten seconds pass between the moment DuBose appears to start the car to the time Tensing gets off the ground and starts running, from about the 1:54 mark to 2:04 in the above video.
When asked directly if he thought Tensing purposely misled investigators about what happened, Deters was blunt.
"Yeah, yes, I think he was making an excuse for the purposeful killing of another person," the prosecutor said.
Stewart Mathews, the attorney who represents Tensing, did not immediately return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
But he has previously said his client was dragged by DuBose's car and feared for his life.
Mathews also claimed that another video from a different officer's body cam shows his client on the ground after getting free from the car.
Tensing pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted of murder.