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Cincinnati takes steps to suspend university patrols on city streets

By Tomas Monzon

CINCINATTI, Ohio, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The City Council of Cincinnati voted Wednesday to ban University of Cincinnati (UC) police from making stops on city streets outside of campus.

The agreement, which was first proposed on Monday, was unanimously favored by council members in front of a crowd of community activists, citizens and university leaders. Although the measure does not permanently ban the police officers from making off-campus stops, it buys time for city leaders who say they need to find a permanent solution to a rising number of police activity outside the campus in recent years.

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UC students are concerned about lessened safety and delayed response times given the City Council's vote. Walking patrols are still allowed but the City Council could not unanimously agree on the boundaries of the campus.

The city of Cincinnati had originally allowed UC police to patrol city streets in 2009.

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University data shows that 62 percent of traffic stops issued by campus police in 2014 affected black motorists and pedestrians, up from 43 percent in 2012. Total ticket numbers for UC police also went up, from 286 in 2012 to 932 so far in 2015.

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It was during one of these stops when Samuel DuBose, 43, was fatally shot by former UC police officer Ray Tensing on July 19. Following the shooting, Tensing was convicted of murder and voluntary manslaughter, which brought much attention to the city.

During Tensing's prosecution, County Prosecutor Joe Deters said that Tensing, who is white, killed African-American DuBose on purpose after losing his temper. Deters further criticized Tensing's account of the incident as "nonsense" and this his reason for stopping DuBose constituted "a chicken-crap stop."

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Tensing had stopped DuBose for missing a front license plate. Body camera footage shows that when DuBose stopped the car and was asked for his driver's license by Tensing. DuBose refused to provide one and also refused to get out of the car as Tensing was attempting to open the driver's side door of DuBose's car. Tensing can be heard shouting "Stop! Stop!" before appearing to get tangled with DuBose and his car and leading him to fire on DuBose.

Tensing turned himself into police after an indictment was issued by a grand jury shortly after the shooting. He was also fired from his job in the university. After pleading not guilty, Tensing was released from jail on a $1 million bond on July 30.

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Outside the courtroom, DuBose's family demanded a conviction. Tensing still faces 15 years or a life sentence in prison for murder, and another 11 years for voluntary manslaughter if he is convicted.

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