Union demands reinstatement of indicted cop’s job

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. The story has gone viral because it offers a strange alchemy of arrogant privilege, an animal’s being lured out of safety and slaughtered, and something onto which we can project outrage without having to contend with the messiness of humanity.

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. 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.

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.

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. 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. Mathews said a video from the body camera of a police officer who arrived right after the shooting shows Tensing lying in the street after he had gotten free of the car, but that video hasn’t been released by authorities. “With the political climate in this country with white police officers shooting black individuals, I think they need somebody to make an example of,” Mathews said.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed in 2013 while sitting in his cruiser by the two men who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing. 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. I don’t think anyone does, but there are actions that would accomplish more than offering an apology to those who cannot provide you with the absolution you seek.

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. When others share their reality, don’t immediately dismiss them because their reality is dissimilar to yours, or because their reality makes you uncomfortable and forces you to see things you prefer to ignore. Some people also mourn the deaths, most recently, of Sandra Bland and Samuel DuBose, but this mourning doesn’t seem to carry the same emotional tenor.

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