Two University of Cincinnati officers have been taken off duty pending an internal investigation into a video that shows them corroborating their colleague's false account of the fatal shooting of unarmed black man Sam Dubose.
University of Cincinnati's public information officer Lonnie Soury confirmed Thursday that Officers David Lindenschmidt and Phillip Kidd had been placed on paid administrative leave as new bodycam videos taken from the officers who responded to the July 19 shooting were released, Cincinnati's WLWT-TV reported.
The decision to place the officers on leave comes just a day after their colleague, UC officer Ray Tensing, was charged with felony murder for shooting Dubose during a traffic stop for a missing front license plate.
Appearing in court in a prison jumpsuit for his arraignment Thursday, Tensing pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Demonstrators had gathered outside the Hamilton County courthouse Wednesday night, just hours after county prosecutor Joe Deters announced a grand jury's decision to indict Tensing. At the same press conference, Deters released graphic footage taken from Tensing's bodycam to media and the public as the city braced for protests and the university canceled classes.
At the rally Wednesday night, Black Lives Matter movement protesters chanted slogans including "I am, I am, Sam Dubose," "No justice no peace," and "Charge the second officer."
Tensing claimed the situation escalated and that he was "dragged" by Dubose's vehicle as the man tried to drive away. But the video shows that Tensing tried to open the car door and almost immediately fired a single shot, hitting and killing Dubose. The car then rolls down the road as Tensing chases after it.
Tensing's lawyer, Stew Mathews, has said that his client feared that he would be run over, and has called the murder charge "absolutely unwarranted."
At the Wednesday press conference, Deters called the shooting "senseless" and "the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make."
"It is our belief that he was not dragged," he told reporters. "If you slow down this tape you see what happens, it is a very short period of time from when the car starts rolling to when a gun is out and he's shot in the head."
Deters added that Dubose going limp and his foot lifting off the brake likely led to the car's movement down the road.
As shown in Tensing's bodycam video, shortly after the shooting two police officers can be seen recounting the incident, and backing up Tensing's false account of what happened at least three times. Kidd claims he actually saw the moment Tensing was dragged by Dubose's car.
"I think I'm OK," Tensing says. "He was just dragging me."
Kidd responds with, "Yeah, I saw that."
Later in the same video, Tensing repeats the claim, saying, "I got my hand and my arm caught inside [the car]."
Kidd again backs up the claim, saying, "Yeah, I saw that."
On Thursday, new bodycam footage taken from the perspective of the responding officers was released. In one of the videos, Lindenschmidt can be heard recounting Tensing's version of events.
"They had a traffic stop, the guy took off on him, the officer got caught in his arm, cause the guy reached for something he thought, so he grabbed on the car, that officer went down when he got tangled in the car, and fired," Lindenschmidt says.
Tensing was taken into custody Wednesday, and was also fired by the UC police department. He faces life in prison if found guilty of Dubose's murder.
The largely peaceful rally Wednesday night was organized by the Black Lives Movement — which for several months has been calling for greater police accountability following a spate of high-profile officer-involved killings of unarmed black people.
At an earlier press conference Dubose's mother, Audrey DuBose, commended the work of activists fighting for justice for her son and others.
"Anybody to come out and go out there on the battlefield with us, I love them people because they fighting for a good cause," she said. "They're standing with me for my son."
Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell met with protesters at the rally and spoke with individual activists, according to WCPO.
"This is America, and people have a right to voice their concern, their anger, their frustration over that video and what transpired in our city," Blackwell said. "As long as everything remains peaceful we'll be OK."