The University of Cincinnati has agreed to pay close to $5 million to the family of an unarmed Black man killed in a traffic stop by a college police officer, according to news reports. Former university police officer Ray Tensing pulled over Sam DuBose in July 2015 for not having a front license plate and shot him as he attempted to drive away. His actions were captured by a body cam. According to The Washington Post, DuBose was one of 987 people shot in encounters with the police in 2015. The Post’s database tracking police killings has recorded 38 deaths this year.
Tensing has been charged with murder and faces life in prison. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters described Tensing’s actions as “the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make — totally unwarranted.”
According to The Post, as part of a settlement with the DuBose family, the university agreed to pay $4.85 million, cover college tuition for DuBose’s 12 children and also build a monument to DuBose on campus.
University President Santa Ono apologized for DuBose’s death and expressed hope the settlement could help the community heal.
“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,” said Ono 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’ sister, Terina DuBose-Allen, said the settlement wasn’t perfect, but it would help them to move forward.
“We’re not happy, we’re not satisfied – those aren’t the words,” she said in a Cincinnati Enquirer article. “The settlement means we’re moving forward and we can heal.”
DuBose-Allen added the settlement also included the formation of a community advisory committee, which would review police department procedure and recommend reforms.
“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said DuBose-Allen. “The settlement isn’t justice. It wouldn’t be if it was $50 million. It was important to hold the university accountable, but there will be no justice until Tensing is convicted of murder.”
Brian Taylor, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Cincinnati, commended the DuBose family for their long fight to obtain justice.
“It’s a complete result, a culmination of the family’s refusal to give up, the sustained protests and pressure, not just here but across the country, the indignation and the actual facts of the case,” he said.