Officer dragged before shooting, 'had to fire' gun, Cincinnati police report says

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Story highlights

  • Report: Officer "repeated that he was being dragged by the vehicle and had to fire his weapon"
  • The officer's uniform "looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface," the report says
  • The University of Cincinnati changes its police patrol policy "until further notice"

(CNN)After shooting dead an apparently unarmed man during a traffic stop, a University of Cincinnati police officer said he'd almost been run over and "had to fire his weapon," according to a police incident report released Thursday.

In the report, another University of Cincinnati police officer, who said he responded to the scene after hearing screams of "shots fired" over the radio, describes what Officer Ray Tensing told him about the shooting.
"Officer Tensing stated that he almost was run over by the driver of the Honda Accord and was forced to shoot the driver with his duty weapon (Sig Sauer P32). Officer Tensing stated that he fired a single shot. Officer Tensing repeated that he was being dragged by the vehicle and had to fire his weapon," Officer Eric Weibel's incident report says.
    Weibel said the officer complained of pain to his left arm after the stop.
    "Looking at Officer Tensing's uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface," the report says.
    In an audio recording of Tensing's dispatch call released Thursday, the officer can be heard shouting "shots fired" and asking for a medic.
    "I almost got ran over by the car. He took off on me," the officer says. "I discharged one round, struck the man in the head."
    In a press conference describing the July 19 shooting, Cincinnati police said there had been a struggle during the traffic stop, but didn't mention anything about the officer reporting he'd been dragged.
    "There was a struggle at the door with Mr. Dubose in the vehicle and the officer outside the vehicle, and the vehicle sped away," Cincinnati police Lt. Col. James Whalen told reporters.
    Police say Tensing fatally shot Samuel Dubose, 43, on Sunday after a struggle at a traffic stop over a missing license tag. Dubose was driving away when Tensing shot him, police said.
    Tensing fired a single shot, hitting the driver in the head as he attempted to flee. Police said the car rolled about a block before crashing.
    It appeared that Dubose did not have a weapon, police said.
    Tensing has been placed on administrative leave with pay, university police said. He gave his first statements to investigators on Tuesday,
    He has five years' experience in law enforcement and has worked for the University of Cincinnati Police Department for more than a year.
    A CNN records search showed that Dubose had more than 60 arrests.
    He was driving Sunday with a suspended license; it had been suspended indefinitely in January, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles said. In total, his license had been suspended 37 times, his driving records show.
    He was a father to 13 children, according to CNN affiliate WKRC-TV.
    Samuel Dubose was killed after being initially stopped for driving without a front license plate.
    At a memorial gathering Monday, Dubose's mother, Audrey, said her son was "full of love," CNN affiliate WLWT-TV reported.
    "Know that my son was not a violent person," she said. "My son ... he got stopped a lot but he never tried to fight."
    The Cincinnati Police Department has said it is finished investigating the fatal shooting and will present the evidence to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who will decide if any criminal charges are warranted. It's not known when Deters will make a decision.
    Local activists are complaining the shooting is similar to police killings of black men or youth in other cities, like Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Dubose was black and Tensing is white.
    University of Cincinnati campus police officers have authority to investigate traffic offenses occurring outside university boundaries under a mutual assistance agreement with the city of Cincinnati.
    On Thursday the school announced that campus police would focus their patrols within campus boundaries and conduct traffic stops only within the boundaries of the campus as part of a new policy in effect "until further notice."