A judge on Thursday set a bond of $1 million for a former University of Cincinnati campus police officer charged with the murder of an unarmed black man he had stopped for a missing license plate.
Ray Tensing, 25, pleaded not guilty at the arraignment before Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan in Cincinnati. After she set bail, some people in the courtroom began applauding, and she ordered them to stop.
“This is a courtroom,” Shanahan said. “You will conduct yourself at all times appropriately.”
The next court date was set for August 19.
Tensing was indicted on Wednesday on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the July 19 death of Samuel Dubose, 43, who was shot in the head during a traffic stop. The man, who turned himself in and spent the night in jail in isolation, appeared in court in gray striped prison clothes.
The incident was the latest in a series of fatal police confrontations across the United States that have raised questions about police use of force against minorities.
A body-camera video Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters played for reporters on Wednesday showed how the traffic stop escalated into deadly violence. After failing to provide a driver’s license at Tensing’s request, Dubose tried to prevent Tensing from opening the car door as the officer ordered him to remove his seat belt.
The car started slowly rolling forward as Tensing reached in and yelled for him to stop. The officer then pulled his gun and fired once, killing Dubose.
Deters said Tensing was not dragged by the car, as the officer had reported, but instead fell backwards after shooting Dubose in the head. Deters said Tensing should have let Dubose drive away as the officer had his license plate number already.
Tensing was fired by university police on Wednesday. He faces life in prison if convicted.
His attorney, Stew Mathews, told reporters on Wednesday that Tensing had fired in self-defense and that would be his defense strategy in court.
Deters said his office was investigating a second officer who had backed Tensing’s version of the traffic stop. At a rally late on Wednesday, some protesters called for other university officers involved in the traffic stop to be punished in some way.