Here we go again. A young white police officer, Ray Tensing, is charged with murder, for just attempting to do his job. What did he do wrong? Well, discharging his weapon when the citizen he stopped was attempting to flee; he panicked when he thought he was being dragged with the car.
The citizen, Samuel DuBose, a black male, had been arrested and charged seventy-five times in the last twenty years. He is a lawbreaker, a drug user, a drug dealer, an irresponsible man who fathered 13 or more children with various women, none of which he married. But, hey, none of this matters as far as the traffic stop goes...well, yes, it actually does because the cop who stopped him, while not knowing his record, knows suspicious behavior when he sees it. It is not a matter of race but of recognizing behaviors.
First, he sees a vehicle without a front license plate. He stops the vehicle because it might be a) stolen or b) the driver is squirrelly or c) both. He stops the vehicle and asks Dubose about the front license plate. Dubose claims it is in his glove compartment but fails to produce it. Asked for his driver's license, he fails to produce it. When asked if it is his car, DuBose lies and says it is his which the officer knows is not true because he already ran it and it is owned by a female. Asked about a bottle Tensing sees on the floor, he hands the officer a bottle of liquor with questionable content. Okay. So, Officer Tensing asks about the license again, asks Dubose if he has a valid license. Dubose says, yes, but doesn't give him one and suggests the officer go run him in the system. Now, the officer is no dummy. He smells a rat. The rat was wanting the officer to go back to his car because he was planning to flee. He knew the officer was going to find that he was not allowed to drive (and he may have had warrants out on him as well) and he was going to be arrested again. The officer figured out this was what was in the cards so he wanted to get the man out of the car and away from the key and ignition. If he allowed the man to drive off, he knew he would then have to chase him which is always a dangerous situation for civilians. An innocent person could get run over by the speeding vehicles. All the talk about this man doing nothing violent is meaningless. The officer had no idea if the man was violent or not; he just knew that the man was lying to him and there may well be a serious reason for it. If he had gone back to his vehicle and the man sped off (perhaps with a stolen vehicle and under the influence of alchohol or drugs) and ran over two children crossing the street, the officer would be getting all the blame, now wouldn't he?
So, the officer tried to get the man out of the car. He resisted and attempted to drive off with the officer entangled in the car. The officer, having pulled his gun out because he could not be sure the man was not armed and dangerous, pulled the trigger, either accidentally, or in a panic, or to stop the vehicle. Things happen quickly in these situations and there is little time to think, just react. Clearly, the officer did not intend to kill Dubose and one can see he is pretty much shocked over the incident. He thought he was going to be run over and he pulled the trigger. The claim by the prosecutor that the car was just slowly rolling away is something one says AFTER the fact; you trying being the cop when you feel the car go into drive and see how long you want to take to think about how fast the vehicle is moving and if you are going to be seriously injured or not. The fact is, Dubose stepped on the accelerator while the police officer was partially inside the car and THAT is a threat to the life of the officer. The officer was being assaulted and he reacted in self-defense.
The video shows what happened but it is just amazing how many people are claiming Tensing purposely killed Dubose. This young officer has a stellar record and was polite when he approached the car. No officer wants to shoot anyone on duty; not only do officers (excluding a rare psycho) not want to take anyone's life but the whole incident can jeopardize one's own life and family. The claim that Tensing committed a premeditated homicide is garbage and, for that matter, so are the charges against him and the zeal to convict him by a very politically motivated prosecutor. I feel damned sorry for Tensing because he may pay with his life for an accidental shooting provoked by the deceased.
Samuel DuBose wasn't killed because he was black man. Ray Tensing didn't pull the trigger because he was an privileged white officer. DuBose made a bad move and Tensing reacted.
I am at the point where I don't even think I can recommend anyone join the police force. It is one thing to put your life on the line against criminals FOR the community, but to put your life on the line for ungrateful citizens is another.
When we end up with the criminals running totally amok in our communities, we only have ourselves to blame for situation.
FYI: Due to the high numbers of ad hominem attacks calling me a racist and other slurs, I would like to clarify something whether it will cause people to behave more politely or rationally or not.
Yes, I am white but I am the mother of two bi-racial children and one black son (all adults now). I live in a majority black town and a majority black county.
I am pro good law enforcement., but I am anti bad law enforcement. I have spoken up many times publicly when I have seen police corruption even though I have and do work with and train law enforcement.
I am anti law breaking. Lawbreakers should be treated fairly within the bounds of the law but they are responsible for any illegal actions that bring harm to the community and to law enforcement. Law breakers are a scourge on the community and without proper policing they will do more damage. If we keep up this war on cops claiming racism in cases where none exists or painting law enforcement with a wide brush of hatred, fewer good people will join the police force and fewer police will be willing to interact with lawbreakers because it will be too risky for their careers and lives.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown