The two officers who allegedly lied to corroborate former University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing's false account of events leading to Samuel DuBose's July 19 death will not face charges, a grand jury decided Friday.
The decision not to indict officers David Lindenschmidt and Phillip Kidd comes just two days after their colleague Tensing was charged with felony murder for shooting unarmed black man Dubose in the head during a traffic stop for a missing front license plate. Tensing has pleaded not guilty.
University of Cincinnati's public information officer Lonnie Soury confirmed Thursday that Lindenschmidt and 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.
Tensing had 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 after Tensing tries to open the car door, Dubose turns the ignition and a brief struggle ensues in which Tensing almost immediately fires a single shot, hitting Dubose in the head. The car then rolls down the road as Tensing chases after it.
On body camera footage released to the public this week, Kidd is heard saying that he witnessed the incident, including Tensing being dragged by the car — corroborating Tensing's assertion that he acted in self-defense when he fired a fatal shot at DuBose. In the footage, Kidd says that Lindenschmidt also saw the shooting.
But in their official testimonies, neither Lindenschmidt nor Kidd reportedly said they saw Tensing being "dragged" by Dubose's vehicle.
"I fully agree with the decision of the Hamilton County Grand Jury," County Prosecutor Joseph.T Deters said in a press release Friday. "These officers were totally cooperative in the investigation and consistent in their statements. There was some confusion over the way the initial incident report was drafted, but that was not a sworn statement by the officers and merely a short summary of information.
"When the officers were specifically asked about what they saw and heard, their statements matched Tensing's body camera video. These officers have been truthful and honest about what happened and no charges are warranted."
Appearing in court in a prison jumpsuit for his arraignment Thursday, Tensing pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter. He has been released on $1 million bail.
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 a 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 Lindenschmidt and Kidd 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, the 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.