Univ. of Cincinnati pays family $5.3M in traffic stop death
CINCINNATI (AP) — The family of a man shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer who pulled him over for not having a front license plate has reached a $5.3 million settlement with the school.
The deal announced Monday gives the family of Samuel DuBose $4.85 million and promises free undergraduate tuition for his 12 children. The agreement also provides for a memorial commemorating DuBose and an apology from the university.
“I want to again express on behalf of the University of Cincinnati community our deepest sadness and regrets at the heartbreaking loss of the life of Samuel DuBose,” University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono said in a statement. “This agreement is also part of the healing process not only for the family but also for our university and Cincinnati communities.”
DuBose, 43, was shot and killed behind the wheel of his car on July 19 after Officer Ray Tensing stopped him near campus for missing a license plate, which is required by Ohio law.
Tensing was charged with murder and pleaded not guilty.
Tensing said that after he stopped the car, Dubose refused to provide a driver’s license and get out.
A struggle ensued as DuBose tried to drive away, and Tensing said he fired because he feared being dragged under the car, said his attorney, Stewart Matthews.
Matthews said a hearing to set a trial date has been scheduled for Feb. 11.
He declined to comment on the specifics of the settlement other than to characterize it as “negative.” He said the settlement will be an issue once it comes time to question potential jurors.
“Their knowledge of the settlement is one aspect that could affect their ability to be fair and impartial, and you try to find that out,” he said.
Matthews had tried to get the case moved to another county, arguing that Tensing couldn’t get a fair trial because of prejudicial comments made by several city officials and by Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters. Deters called the shooting “asinine” and said it was “without question a murder.”
The university settlement also provides for the DuBose family to participate in meetings with a Community Advisory Committee, which is soliciting community input on police reform and will review the results of an external audit of the university’s police force.
The shooting occurred during heightened scrutiny across the United States of police treatment of blacks, after a string of police-inflicted deaths from Ferguson, Missouri, to Chicago sparked sometimes-violent protests over the past year and a half.
Dubose, who was unarmed, was black, and Tensing is white.
“The example here demonstrates to communities hurting all over the country that positive results can be achieved through this type of cooperation,” said attorney Billy Martin, who helped mediate the settlement.
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