'Poor police tactics' in fatal shooting in Ohio, university report finds

 Samuel DuBose, 43, was shot and killed by former University of Cincinnati campus police officer Raymond Tensing on July 20, 2015, after a traffic stop.

Story highlights

  • Ohio university cop killing "entirely preventable," investigation finds
  • Officer Raymond Tensing's use of deadly force violated UCPD policy
  • Tensing has pleaded not guilty to murder

(CNN)The July killing of an Ohio man by a University of Cincinnati police officer was "entirely preventable," according to a university investigation released Friday.

Then-Officer Raymond Tensing fatally shot Samuel DuBose in the head during a traffic stop on July 19. The incident was captured on body camera video and released to the public.
An independent review of the incident, led by Kroll Inc., found that the shooting "never should have occurred" and that Tensing's use of deadly force violated University of Cincinnati Police Department policy. The university retained Kroll, an independent investigative firm, to conduct the "extensive and independent" review.
    Tensing's initial interactions with Dubose were appropriate, but Tensing made "critical errors in judgment," used "poor police tactics" and "created [a] hazard of serious bodily injury," during the stop, according to Robin Engel, vice president for safety and reform at the University of Cincinnati.
    The university's investigation does not consider whether Tensing's conduct constituted a crime, Engel said in a news conference Friday. Engel added that the university will leave that to the judicial process.
    Tensing has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter.

    What happened in July

    The former officer was stopping DuBose just off university campus because his car didn't have a front license plate.
    The investigation found that after DuBose told Tensing that he was not in possession of his driver's license, Tensing instructed DuBose to remove his seat belt and step outside of the car.
    Tensing escalated the situation by "improperly reaching into the car" in an attempt to restrain DuBose.
    "Tensing further escalated the encounter by drawing his service weapon within one to two seconds of the moment Dubose started the car," according to the report.
    Tensing then shot DuBose in the head.
    In police reports after the incident, Tensing said he shot DuBose because he believed his life was in danger, that his arm was caught in DuBose's steering wheel and that he was "holding on for dear life" as DuBose attempted to flee the traffic stop.
    "The evidence Kroll reviewed and analyzed does not lend support to these statements," according to the report.
    "Contrary to Tensing's statements, at no point in the body camera video footage does it appear that Tensing's arm is lodged or caught in the steering wheel of the Accord or other aspect of the car's interior."
    Tensing's attorney, Stew Matthews, declined to comment on the report.
    Based on the data available, Tensing was an "outlier," or statistically different in the number of citations he issued to minorities, Engel said Friday.
    "He was an outlier in terms of citations that he wrote. ... There was a distinct disproportion in the number of citations he wrote to African Americans as compared to his peer officers," said S. Gregory Baker, recently appointed director of police community relations for the University of Cincinnati.
    The University of Cincinnati will be doing a top to bottom review of all UCPD practices, Engel said.
    Tensing surrendered to authorities shortly after news of the indictment broke. He has been fired from his job, is free on a $1 million bond and if convicted, could go to prison for life.
    A pretrial hearing has been set for November 16.
    The University of Cincinnati review comes during a time of national conversation regarding the high-profile shootings of unarmed African-American men by white police officers: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina; Jonathan Ferrell in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Christian Taylor in Arlington, Texas.