I have to admit, I was quite surprised yesterday after hearing the news of a settlement reached by the University of Cincinnati and the Dubose Family for the wrongful death of Samuel Dubose at the hands of former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing. I am mostly concerned that this will be another nail in the legal coffin for Ray Tensing who has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. As discussed in an earlier blog, Guilty Until Proven Guilty, I expressed concerns that the “system” in its efforts to stop the ripples of discontent from becoming a tsunami of discontent quickly determined Ray Tensing is guilty, with out the benefit of a trial. This was accomplished by the comments of the Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, Mayor John Cranley,City Manager Harry Black, and fired Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.
There are a number of points in the settlement that makes one get a quizzical look on their face, but I am mostly amazed at the idea that anon campus memorial will be erected honoring Samuel Dubose. Honoring him for what? It is not that Samuel Dubose was an exemplary citizen that we would want future generations attending the University of Cincinnati to honor and revere, to be held up as a role model to future generations. The bottom line is simply that Sam Dubose should be held up as the antithesis of what a role model should be for future attendees at the University. You need to ask yourself, would you want your children to grow up and be just like Sam Dubose? Look at the man and look at his lifestyle. If he accomplished anything it was the incredible feat of siring 12 children, most, if not all, born out-of-wedlock and most, if not all, with different mothers. Does that seem to be a good role model? Same Dubose had over 90 citations and arrests. That averages out to 3.6 arrests or citations each year of his adult life. That is not a person to be memorialized, that is a person others commonly call a criminal. Is he the type of role model you want your children admiring as they pass his memorial each day on campus? Has Sam Dubose really become a folk hero?
Another part in the settlement that makes me just shake my head and wonder is the part of the settlement that will give the Dubose Family a role in the campus matters relating to Police reform. What role could they possibly have. Consultants? Advisers? Subject Matter Experts? I don’t think so. What can they possibly contribute. That is a genuine question. I am at a loss, and I have thought about this for a while now, and the same question just keeps coming up. What can they possibly contribute to the discussion? But the settlement is what it is. It is a sign of the climate of today’s society. But what it really did was further complicate the possibility of obtaining justice for both Sam Dubose and Ray Tensing.
Ray Tensing’s trial is all that is left to be done. I do not know if he is guilty of the charges brought against him or not. Nobody does. That is because he has not been found guilty in a court of law. Until that happens, he is considered innocent. The concern I have, is it possible for him to be tried fairly? He deserves a fair trial, the public deserves to know the truth, and the Dubose family deserves to see justice. Is it possible for Ray Tensing to have a fair trial? Is it possible even if a change of venue is granted? The idea of a fair trial, assuming a jury trial, is that twelve honest men and women can be found who are not already influenced by all the publicity this event has generated. In times past, a change of venue would have been an easy answer, but today, not so much. Cable news channels, social media, and the internet makes it all seem like local news. The evidence, such as the police reports and the videos have been so widely circulated that it will be nearly impossible to find someone, let alone twelve someones, who have not seen, and been influenced, by them. An impartial jury is what will make it work. But getting an impartial jury will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
For any potential jurors out there, bear this in mind. The fact that Joe Deters says Tensing committed murder does not make it so. The fact is, the edited videos tell a part of the story, they do not tell the whole story. Most importantly, the fact that an out of court settlement for “wrongful death” was reached does not prove that there was, in fact, a wrongful death, or that Ray Tensing is guilty of causing that wrongful death.. As I say, I don’t know if Ray Tensing is guilty or not and the sad fact of the matter is, we may never know.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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