We finally were able to watch the horrifying and bone chilling video of Sam DuBose’s murder on Thursday, only to find out, on Friday, that a better version of the video should have been released. Had the public seen it first, the reaction would have been more even.
Then, later on Friday, a version of the video that amalgamates all three police officers’ bodycams was released:
Later on Friday, as is now the custom with government agencies, word came that neither Phillip Kidd or David Lindenschmidt will be prosecuted for lying on behalf of their fellow officer, Ray Tensing. The AP reported:
The Hamilton County grand jury did not return indictments against Phillip Kidd and David Lindenschmidt. The announcement that they wouldn’t be charged came a day after former Officer Ray Tensing pleaded not guilty to murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 19 shooting of Samuel DuBose.
Kidd and Lindenschmidt were put on administrative leave this week during a university investigation. The officers haven’t responded to messages left at the school’s police department and at a possible home number for Lindenschmidt. No home number could be found for Kidd.
A police report and body camera video from the two officers showed they were on the scene just after the shooting. Footage showed Tensing getting up from the ground after DuBose had been shot.
Tensing’s attorney has said Tensing fired at DuBose because he thought he was going to be dragged under the motorist’s car.
Kidd can be heard on body camera video saying “yes” to another officer’s question on whether he saw Tensing dragged. Prosecutors have said Tensing was not dragged and Tensing’s own body camera video doesn’t show any dragging.
County Prosecutor Joe Deters says Kidd and Lindenschmidt arrived as Tensing reached into DuBose’s car. Their official statements about what happened matched what was shown on Tensing’s body camera, and neither officer said in official interviews that he saw Tensing being dragged, according to Deters.
Both officers made comments at the scene but later were interviewed in depth by Cincinnati police about what they had witnessed, according to Deters.
“These officers have been truthful and honest about what happened and no charges are warranted,” Deters said.
DuBose’s family had asked prosecutors to investigate the other officers. The family’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said in email Friday that they are “still concerned with the initial rendition of facts given by the officers,” but he said the family respects the grand jury’s decision.
While one can certainly understand the decision of a very stressed, shell shocked family to back off, with caveats, for now, one must consider what we know about both of those officers’ record with brutality. The Guardian reported:
Officers at Sam DuBose scene involved in death of another unarmed black man
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Two police officers who corroborated a seemingly false account of the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati were previously implicated in the death of an unarmed, hospitalised and mentally ill black man who died after he was “rushed” by a group of seven University of Cincinnati police officers.
Kelly Brinson, a 45-year-old mental health patient at Cincinnati’s University hospital, suffered a psychotic episode on 20 January 2010 and was placed inside a seclusion room at the hospital by UC officers. He was then shocked with a Taser three times by an officer and placed in restraints. The father of one – son Kelly Jr – then suffered a respiratory cardiac arrest and died three days later.
In court documents obtained by the Guardian and filed by Brinson’s family in a civil suit against UC police and the hospital, all seven officers are accused of using excessive force and “acted with deliberate indifference to the serious medical and security needs of Mr Brinson”.
According to the lawsuit, before Brinson was placed in restraints he “repeatedly yelled that slavery was over and he repeatedly pleaded not to be shackled and not to be treated like a slave”.
Five years before University of Cincinnati officers Eric Weibel and Phillip Kidd corroborated the seemingly false account of an officer now charged with murder, they helped as Kelly Brinson was shocked and shackled
As if that wasn’t enough, we also learned that the Fraternal Order of Police has initiated the reinstatement of Ray Tensing, who has pled not guilty. The Associated Press further reports:
“The executive director of the FOP Ohio Labor Council, a division of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, said Friday that the union filed a grievance on Tensing’s behalf Wednesday to try to get him reinstated.”
These are officers who are known to have lied and were involved in their own brutality cases, facts that are sure to come out at Tensing’s trial. How instrumental will any testimony they give against him be, when a defense attorney is sure to use what he knows to discredit them? Why does the value of their testimony against Tensing trump the value of convictions against them for conspiring to cover-up a murder? If the argument that their testimony could make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal, with the video footage we’ve all seen, then I submit that with a jury that is not diverse, there would be no chance of a conviction anyway. Will those two ever answer for their behavior in the Brinson case? Is this another case of Grand Jury manipulation?
These are the kinds of ethical short cuts that erode our system of justice and the public trust.