Several pastors feel betrayed by University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white UC police officer. And they're challenging Ono to defy prosecutor Joe Deters and release the officer's body cam video.
A prominent black minister, the Rev. Damon Lynch III, and a diverse group of pastors say it was unfair for UC to release the police incident report Thursday while Deters withholds the video. The pastors say the incident report only give the officer's side of the story, and they're asking Ono to release the video now – with or without Deters' consent, whether Deters sues UC or not.
"They only gave out the side -- the police officer side -- which serves to vindicate the officer and not the entire story so the community and the family can know what really happened on that fateful day," Lynch told WCPO Friday.
"We're asking UC, which still has a copy of the tape, to release it."
Following Officer Ray Tensing's killing of Sam Dubose during a traffic stop Sunday, Ono invited the pastors to meet with him Thursday and informed them that he was ordering UC police to stop patrolling off campus. Tensing pursued Dubose to a Mount Auburn street because Dubose's Honda Accord didn't have a front license plate.
Lynch has been a long-time spokesperson and advocate for police reform. He stepped to the forefront after the fatal shooting of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed black teen, by white Cincinnati police officer Stephen Roach that led to riots in the city in 2001.
Dubose's family and their supporters -- as well as the media -- have been clamoring to see Tensing's body cam video. WCPO and other media outlets announced Friday that they would sue the prosecutor's office to release the video. WCPO's editorial board called for the video's release earlier this week.
Ono tweeted Thursday that he had asked Deters to let Dubose's family see the video.
Ono said at a news conference Wednesday that he was prepared to release the video after the shooting but deferred to Deters, who said he would withhold it during the investigation. On Thursday, Deters said he wouldn't release it until the grand jury had seen it. On Friday, Deters said his office plans to complete its presentation to the grand jury by the end of next week.
According to the police incident report, Tensing said Dubose was dragging him with his car and Tensing feared he would be run over when he fired a single shot that killed Dubose.
Another UC officer responding to the scene, Phillip Kidd, backed up Tensing's account, saying he witnessed Dubose's 1998 Honda Accord dragging Tensing and Tensing firing one shot, according to the report.
Cincinnati police from Districts 4 and 5 have agreed to increase patrols in the neighborhood areas around UC's Uptown campuses, Ono said in a statement Friday.The lawless and riots in Baltimore that culminated with the historic empty stadium baseball game between the Orioles and the White Sox on April 29th started off in similar fashion to what we are witnessing in Cincinnati.
Only a matter of time now...