Two University of Cincinnati police officers who witnessed fellow cop Ray Tensing fatally shoot unarmed black driver Sam DuBose will not face criminal charges. Officers Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt gave accounts of the shooting that turned out to be inconsistent with the footage from Tensing’s body camera. A grand jury declined to indict Kidd and Lindenschmidt, prosecutors announced Friday.
Tensing, facing murder charges for killing DuBose, said in a police report that he fired his weapon only after DuBose’s car began dragging him down the street. The same report notes that Officer Kidd claimed he saw Tensing being dragged and saw him fire a single shot.
“It was unclear how much of this incident OIT Lindenschmidt witnessed,” the report noted.
A body camera video released Wednesday called into question the officers’ claim that Tensing was dragged before he fired the shot that killed DuBose. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters argued Wednesday that the car began moving only after DuBose was dead, and that his foot must have pressed the accelerator after he was shot.
But Deters on Friday said “no charges were warranted,” because both officers had changed their story in their official interviews. According to a statement from his office:
“Two UC officers arrived on the scene as Tensing was reaching into Mr Dubose’s car. Both officers made comments at the scene but later were interviewed in depth by Cincinnati Police Officers about what they had had witnessed. In their official interviews, neither officer said that they had seen Tensing being dragged.”
Deters acknowledged there was “confusion over the way the initial incident report was drafted,” but noted that it wasn’t a sworn statement. In official interviews and in front of the grand jury, their testimony has been consistent: there was no dragging.