WCPO, other news organizations filing lawsuit for release of UC officer-involved shooting video

CINCINNATI – WCPO, along with other news organizations, have filed a lawsuit seeking the release of body camera video from Sunday's University of Cincinnati officer-involved shooting.

WCPO, WKRC, WXIX, WLWT, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Associated Press filed a joint complaint against Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to have him release the video.

UC Officer Ray Tensing fired one shot at Sam Dubose, killing him during a traffic stop in Mount Auburn Sunday, according to a police report. Tensing was wearing a body camera at the time.

Officials have released a police report and radio recordings, but so far declined to release the video footage despite requests.

About 20 people protested outside of Deters’ office Thursday, seeking to have the footage released. State Sen. Cecil Thomas, a former police officer, also called for the video to be released.

"I'm extremely concerned that this is going to lead to some problems. I don't want to go back to that," Thomas said.

WCPO’s editorial board has also called for the video to be made public:

An unarmed black man is shot and killed by a white police officer after a traffic stop. That would raise questions anytime, but in the current environment, getting answers to those questions is even more urgent.

But we’re not getting answers about what happened Sunday night, when a University of Cincinnati police officer shot and killed Sam Dubose following a traffic stop.

And urgency doesn’t seem to be a priority for the people who have the information.

The main question is basic: What happened?

Deters has said they did not want to release the video until a grand jury has seen it.

“The law supports our position to not release the video,” Deters said in a statement. “If you do not want to look at the law and just use your common sense, it should be clear why we are not releasing the video only a few days after the incident occurred.  We need time to look at everything and do a complete investigation so that the community is satisfied that we did a thorough job.  The grand jury has not seen the video yet and we do not want to taint the grand jury process. The video will be released at some point – just not right now.”

Attorney John C. Greiner filed the suit on behalf of the news organizations Friday.

“We’ve not been able to get the footage from the body camera from Officer Tensing, and we believe we are entitled to it and it should be produced,” Greiner said.

Deters' spokeswoman, Julie Wilson, told AP Friday afternoon they hadn't seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment.

The Associated Press' Lisa Cornwell contributed to this report.

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