Samuel DuBose Shooting: No Charges for Two Officers Who Responded

1 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cincinnati campus officer charged with murder wants job back.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When an Ohio prosecutor charged a campus police officer with murder in the death of a driver during a traffic stop, he offered a harsh judgment on University of Cincinnati police, saying the school should not be in the business of law enforcement at all. The Cincinnati campus cop who was fired after he was charged with murdering an unarmed black motorist wants his job back — and his union is backing him up. “We filed the grievance, No. 1 because there was no just cause, and No. 2 because he was not afforded his due process rights under the contract,” union leader Thomas Fehr told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday. That statement and the circumstances of the shooting near campus have raised questions about college police departments, which often possess powers that extend beyond their schools’ boundaries. Tensing, who was arrested after dramatic body camera video footage appeared to contradict his account of the fatal shooting, “wanted it done,” Fehr said. “The contract language says that if you’re going to discipline an employee for anything that involves loss of pay, suspension, demotion or termination, the university is required to have a predisciplinary conference with the employee,” he said. “That was not done.” Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters contends Tensing “purposely killed” 43-year-old Samuel DuBose after pulling him over for a “chicken crap” traffic infraction. One of the best known examples is the killing of James Boyd, a homeless paranoid schizophrenic who was shot and killed in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains by Albuquerque Police Department officers.

Social media sites were abuzz with outrage about the slaughter of Samuel Dubose, a father of 10 in Cincinnati, and Cecil the lion, a father of 12 cubs in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. They followed the tragic death of Sandra Bland in a Waller County, Texas, jail of an apparent suicide, after a policeman pulled her over for changing lanes without signaling. They took a familiar form: White people care more about lions than black people, people care more about black men than black women, people care more about wild animals than captive animals, people care more about killings than daily suffering from poverty, violence and hate, and so on. I’ve always been leery of the zero-sum mentality that suggests if you protest against one injustice that means you privilege it over another injustice.

The faculty union fought the move, and its executive director said a shooting like the one in Ohio is what they feared. “I could very easily imagine someone getting pulled over, someone mouthing off and boom,” Frank Annunziato said. “It doesn’t surprise me, and it does sicken me. People in the courtroom audience erupted into cheers and clapping when bond was set at $1 million, drawing the ire of Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan. He says their official statements about what happened matched what was shown on Tensing’s body camera, and neither of the two officers said in official interviews that they saw Tensing dragged. I can tell you that.” The move toward campus police began in the 1960s, when student protests sometimes led to violent clashes with city police, according to Bill Taylor, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

But the more widespread use of body cameras will make it easier for the American public to better understand how police officers do their jobs and under what circumstances they feel that it is necessary to resort to deadly force. In this latest episode of oppression Olympics, very little attention has been focused on the commonalities between the murders of Samuel and Cecil and the racist, humanist, colonialist structures that support white men killing black men, women and animals.

In the 2011-2012 school year, more than 14,000 sworn police officers were working on campuses — a 10 percent increase in the number of full-time sworn personnel since the 2004-2005 school year, according to a survey by the U.S. There is “overwhelming” public support for police body cameras and lawmakers in many states have introduced legislation outlining body camera policies. Seventy-five percent of campuses used armed officers, up from 68 percent, and more than 80 percent of sworn officers were allowed to patrol or arrest people off campus. City officials who viewed video footage from Tensing’s body camera said the traffic stop shouldn’t have led to a shooting. “This officer was wrong,” Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said Wednesday, adding that officers “have to be held accountable” when they’re in the wrong. While there are certainly incidents of police officers with body cameras behaving appallingly, there is some encouraging but not definitively conclusive research suggesting that cameras do improve police officers’ behavior.

Officers in his department at San Jacinto College in the Houston area are a mix of experienced and retired municipal officers, along with some recently out of the academy. It is the case that the small sample sizes, locations of the studies, and other factors (such as a relatively new Rialto police chief overseeing the body camera study) mean that we should be wary of making overly generalized claims based on the Rialto and Mesa experiences. What kind of person takes another person’s life so cavalierly?” If it were no longer acceptable to treat animals as animals and violate and kill them, the animalization process that serves to justify structures of white male power would be weakened. There are many different issues and federal guidelines that have to be followed that are very specific to campus policing,” he said in an interview, adding that municipal and campus police work closely together. “Sometimes UC police and Cincinnati police ride together in a car. Tensing’s attorney, Stewart Mathews, said that he was shocked that his client was indicted on a murder charge and that Tensing did not intend to kill DuBose.

Tensing, who could face up to life in prison if convicted, has said he thought he was going to be dragged under the car and “feared for his life,” Mathews said. Aubrey DuBose, the victim’s brother, called the shooting “senseless” and “unprovoked.” He said the family is upset but wants any reaction to the case to be nonviolent and done in a way that honors his brother’s style.

Associated Press writers Kantele Franko, Ann Sanner, Mitch Stacy, Julie Carr Smyth and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus and Dylan Lovan in Cincinnati contributed to this report. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. Last year, the California State University system, while not admitting fault, agreed to pay $2.5 million to the family of a student killed during a struggle with San Bernardino campus police. Rather than pointing fingers at each other about inadequate or disproportionate grief at the deaths of some and not others, social justice activists might instead work to develop what political theorist Claire Jean Kim calls as “ethics of avowal.” In contrast to disavowal, the act of rejection or dissociation that often leads to perpetuating patterns of social injury, she suggests that we recognize the ways that our struggles are linked and to be “open in a meaningful and sustained way to the suffering and claims of other subordinated groups, even or perhaps especially in the course of political battle.” We should empathize with the pain and indignities of others who are disempowered and avow, rather than belittle, their search for justice. In North Dakota, the state Supreme Court ruled last month that a North Dakota State University officer did not have the authority to arrest a woman for drunken driving off campus. Historically, disregard for the lives and bodies of black people has been justified through a process of dehumanization that specifically compares them to animals. (Protesters of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Freddie Grey killing in Baltimore, Maryland, were directly referred to as animals.) In the current taxonomy of power, white and black women are also often animalized, for example, when exploited as pieces of meat.

Weakening that structure is one way to avow the lives of those who were wantonly killed and perhaps allow more just social relations to develop from our grief and anger.

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