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University of Cincinnati police officer shoots unarmed man, authorities say

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Posted at 9:50 AM, Jul 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-22 10:02:04-04

Hamilton County, Ohio Prosecutor Joe Deters said his office is "rapidly" pursuing an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sunday's University of Cincinnati officer-involved shooting that killed 43-year-old Sam Dubose.

According to a report from WCPO in Cincinnati, UC Police Officer Ray Tensing shot Dubose in the head during a struggle that ensued after a traffic stop in Mount Auburn Sunday night, authorities said.

"We are rapidly investigating what occurred between (Tensing) and (Dubose)," Deters said Tuesday afternoon. "We expect to have our assessment complete before the end of next week."

City Manager Harry Black said he would lend his support to the investigation, as well.

"This incident didn't involve a Cincinnati Police Department officer, but it happened in our city and it is our job to ensure this investigation is handled with the attention it deserves," Black said.

"The process of finding out exactly what happened will be thorough, complete, and transparent," Black promised.

Mayor John Cranley added that he "believe(s Deters) is giving this the review it deserves. We express our condolences to the Dubose family for this tragic loss."

Black said in that statement that Deters' office is holding a video of the incident, but has ordered the video not be released as public record until the investigation is completed.

So far, investigators have released few details surrounding the deadly shooting. According to UC Police Chief Jason Goodrich, Dubose failed to provide a driver's license and had an open container of alcohol in his vehicle when Tensing pulled him over.

When Tensing asked Dubose to exit the vehicle, Dubose refused, and a struggle ensued, Goodrich said.

BACKGROUND:Police detail struggle before UC cop killed man

Cincinnati Police Lt. Colonel James Whalen, who is leading the investigation, said Monday that Dubose did not have a weapon on him or in his vehicle. When asked what the threat was to the officer, Whalen said, "We haven't had a chance to talk to the officer yet to find that out."

Some have questioned what Tensing was doing away from the university's campus.

Goodrich said the traffic stop was initiated on campus, but Dubose did not stop his vehicle until they were off campus. A mutual-aid agreement between the city and the university departments allows University of Cincinnati police officers and a host of other law enforcement agencies to work outside of their jurisdiction.

Even more puzzling to Dubose's friends and family is how their loved one could have gotten caught up in a struggle that resulted in his death.

Hadassah Homas, who said he had known him for more than thirty years, said Dubose had an illness that made him "fragile" and "frail."

"We were so concerned about him being sick," Homas said. "Sam has been sick for a while. He did not have no fight in him. Nothing. He was just so weak. To take his life – his life was – I mean he was very fragile."

One resident who was walking by captured the moments on video just after the shooting:

According to court records, police pulled Dubose over and charged him with not having a license 13 times between 1995 and 2009. He was charged four times with not having a proper license plate on his vehicle between those dates. He was also charged with driving under suspension eight times between 2005 and 2011.

Dubose had been charged with more than 55 offenses before his death. Some of the other charges escalated beyond traffic violations, including drug abuse, domestic violence and assault. It is important to note that being charged with a crime does not mean that someone is guilty. In many cases, court documents show Dubose paid his fines. The two assault charges were dismissed.

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