#BlackOnBlue: White officer kills unarmed Black man and gets $344,000 in back pay
Police officer receives an acquittal and settlement despite lying about reason for shooting unarmed driver
A white cop who shot and killed an unarmed Black man but was ultimately acquitted; not only got away with murder, he will also receive more than $300,000 in back pay from his former employer.
A white cop who shot and killed an unarmed Black man but was ultimately acquitted of the crime; not only got away with murder, he will also receive more than $300,000 in back pay from his former employer.
In July 2015, Officer Ray Tensing of the University of Cincinnati police fatally shot 43-year-old Sam DuBose in the head during what should have been a routine traffic stop. Officers say they intended to confront DuBose about a missing license plate, reports the Associated Press. Tensing claimed that DuBose tried to drive off during the stop and as a result, he was being dragged and felt he had no choice but to fire his gun.
The body camera footage, however, tells a different story. It showed that Tensing lied about being dragged.
Tensing was indicted on murder charges, but after two hung juries, the case was dropped.
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According to the Associated Press, “The Fraternal Order of Police had challenged Tensing’s firing, saying he shouldn’t have been removed from the university’s police force before the case was resolved. As part of the settlement, the union said, Tensing has resigned and will not pursue any other claims against the university… The University of Cincinnati agreed to pay more than $244,000 in back pay and benefits and $100,000 in legal fees.”
A very small consolation is that according to the Associated Press, Tensing is not the only individual being financially compensated for this tragedy. “The university earlier reached a $5.3 million settlement with DuBose’s family, including free undergraduate tuition for his 13 children.”
There’s an App for Driving While Black
A man in North Carolina became so frustrated with being stopped by the police that he developed an app to combat racial profiling.
Mbey Njie, a 36-year-old tech entrepreneur, created a smartphone app called “Legal Equalizer,” according to The Charlotte Observer. The app was designed to help users understand their rights and it alerts selected contacts in the phone that they’ve been stopped by a police officer. It also includes a built-in video feature which uses your phone’s camera to record the interaction. The video is automatically saved to the app, preventing it from being deleted directly from your cellphone.
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Njie’s goal is to help people who may be confused about what their rights are when they are stopped by the police. While laws vary by state, Njie’s smartphone app will help you understand what you need to know.
Njie, told the Observer that the app was created out of frustration as a black man in North Carolina and Georgia, who was frequently pulled over for minor traffic infractions.
Describing his experience as a college student at Davidson College Njie said, “If you went off campus 10 times, every four to six times, as a young black male, you’re going to get pulled over by a police officer from the town of Davidson. Most times, they would try to search your car and ask you questions.”
Njie said he still encounters the same racial profiling situations by police in Georgia.
He launched the first version of the Legal Equalizer app in 2015, a year after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. as the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter took center stage. The app was marketed largely as a police watchdog tool.
Putting the app into action
In late 2016, Njie sent out a tweet criticizing Dr. Cedric Alexander, then DeKalb County’s director of public safety in Georgia. He said too many black drivers were targeted with minor traffic violations.
Alexander, who is also Black, responded to Njie with a tweet of his that stated: “Find a way to make a difference and not just complain. Get on the resolution train.”
Alexander later gave Njie his phone number and offered to meet.
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During their meeting, Njie showed him the Legal Equalizer app and explained how it worked. Njie says that Alexander, who is now deputy mayor of Rochester, N.Y., supports the Legal Equalizer app as a citizen education tool. But, Alexander still cautions against people using the app to go back and forth and argue about the laws with police officers.
In addition to combatting racial profiling, Njie hopes to broaden the app’s tools to be useful for victims of domestic violence and people targeted by immigration officers, according to the Observer.