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On third anniversary of DuBose death, friends and family seek to replace anger with positivity

Posted at 11:19 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 00:33:14-04

CINCINNATI -- What most Cincinnatians know about Samuel DuBose begins and ends July 19, 2015, when he was shot to death by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing during an off-campus traffic stop. 

DuBose had been driving without a front license plate and failed to produce a driver's license when asked, according to body camera footage. When he disobeyed a request to unbuckle his seatbelt and instead put his car in drive, Tensing shot him in the head.

The encounter lasted fewer than 10 minutes. It might be all you know about DuBose's 43 years on Earth.

Fiancee Dashonda Reid, who has joined other friends and family in a celebration of DuBose's life each July 19 since the shooting, hopes to teach Cincinnatians a little more. On Thursday, she and others highlighted DuBose's passion for music with a memorial concert in Burnet Woods Park.

"He was a community person," Reid said of DuBose, who was a rapper and music producer. "He had a lot of people look up to him because he was an actual leader."

Tensing stood trial twice for charges related to DuBose's death, becoming one of many white American police officers who faced intense public scrutiny for killing unarmed black men. Neither jury arrived at a verdict, however, and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters declined to press charges a third time.

"It still pains me that no one has been account able for his death," friend Cathi Bridges said Thursday.

Reid said she struggles with anger over the trials' results -- "It's a lot of moments where I think about how a murderer can get paid for publicly assassinating an innocent person on camera" -- but sees hope for the future in the people around her.

"Hate is now becoming a smaller population of thinkers," she said. "We are going to consume that with positive thinkers."

Reid said she plans to make a documentary about her personal experience with police violence and its impact on children tentatively titled "I Am Sam: The Aftermath of Injustice." 

"(The film) will demonstrate how one family chose to use their tragedy as fuel to make a change on how we cope with the hurt while offering insight on how to heal one's mental health," according to its Kickstarter page.