CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono has responded to the uproar over the fatal shooting of Samuel Dubose, 43, an unarmed black motorist, by Ray Tensing, 25, a white UC police officer, which happened on July 19 off campus.
Tensing was fired by the campus police and indicted for murder on Wednesday. He had pulled Dubose over for driving a car with no front license plate, then shot him as he attempted to drive away. Video of the incident disproved Tensing’s claim that he was forced to shoot because he was being dragged by Dubose’s car.
On July 21, Ono said in a statement, “On behalf of the University of Cincinnati community, I want to extend our condolences to the family and loved ones of Samuel Dubose. Our hearts grieve for his loss. We also know that police officers risk their lives every day, and when their efforts to protect themselves and our community result in a death, it is a tragedy. No matter the circumstances, it is a time of unimaginable sadness for all involved.”
The following day, Ono announced in a news conference on campus that he and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley had met to discuss how the university and the city can best work together to move the city and the university communities forward following the shooting, which is being investigated by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters.
Ono said he indicated to the mayor that UC is open to discussing participation in the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement. In that manner, the university can enhance transparency as it relates to its relationship with the Cincinnati Police Department and the university’s overall operations.
UC will review the training of its police officers to make sure that the university is applying best practices, Ono said.
Because UC is committed to a safe community, Ono added, he and UC Police Chief Jason Goodrich planned to meet with the City of Cincinnati Manager’s Advisory Group, which is an outgrowth of the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement. Ono and Goodrich also decided to create a community advisory group to work directly with the UC Police Department.
Cranley and Ono also planned to meet with Dubose family members to offer condolences in person.
Ono decided, in consultation with Goodrich and members of the university’s executive leadership, to make the following policy changes in UC police operations effective immediately and until further notice:
– UC Police will focus its patrols within campus boundaries. UC has multiple campus locations, so university police vehicles will still be seen traveling between locations. The Cincinnati Police Department has agreed to increase its patrols outside the boundaries of campus in the interim.
– UC Police will conduct traffic stops only within the boundaries of UC’s campuses.
– In addition, the university and UC Police will review its MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Cincinnati Police Department.
“The University of Cincinnati has communicated with Cincinnati police captains overseeing Districts 4 and 5,” Ono said July 24. “They have agreed to increase police patrols in the neighborhood areas surrounding our Uptown campuses.
“UC Police Chief Jason Goodrich and I will be meeting soon with city and community leaders to evaluate our patrol areas. We will be monitoring these changes on a continuing basis to make adjustments as warranted.
“The safety of the university community remains our top priority. The university’s relationship with the city remains strong, and we will continue to work together.”
On July 27, Ono announced, “This morning, several senior leaders of the University of Cincinnati met with members of the City Manager’s Advisory Group to hear their thoughts and perspectives about how best to move forward together in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. As the result of multiple conversations this past week with community leaders, which were reiterated this morning, the university is initiating a process to hire an independent external reviewer to examine UC Police Department policies, procedures and practices.
“We also are moving forward with the creation of a community advisory panel. These are important steps to create an enhanced environment of openness and healing.”