CINCINNATI (AP) — The family and supporters of a man fatally shot by a University of Cincinnati police officer who stopped him because of a missing license plate wants video from the shooting released.
About 20 people, including relatives of Samuel Dubose, protested Thursday outside Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters’ office. They held signs with slogans including “Justice for Samuel Dubose” and repeatedly chanted for Deters to “release that tape.”
Dubose’s cousin, Ebony Johnson, said protests will continue until police body-camera footage is released. “We’re here because we want answers, and we want justice,” she said.
But Deters stood by his decision not to release the video until the investigation is finished. “The law supports our position to not release the video,” he said in a statement Thursday.
Authorities say Officer Ray Tensing was at the edge of campus Sunday evening when he spotted a car, driven by Dubose, that was missing a front license plate, which is required by Ohio law. They say that after Tensing stopped the vehicle, the 43-year-old Dubose refused to provide a driver’s license and, instead, showed the officer “a bottle of alcohol” and wouldn’t get out of the car.
The two men began struggling, Tensing fired one shot and was knocked to the ground, the university police chief says.
Dubose’s death comes amid months of national scrutiny of police dealings with black suspects, especially those killed by officers. Dubose was black; Tensing is white. Authorities haven’t said whether race is a consideration in their investigation.
In refusing the request to release the video, Deters said authorities need time to do a thorough investigation and to ensure the grand jury process isn’t tainted.
Tensing is on paid leave and hasn’t responded to messages left for him at the police department. A phone listing for him could not be found.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When Sandra Bland refused to put out her cigarette, the police officer opened her car door and tried dragging her out of the vehicle. She asked at least four times why she was being arrested and got no answer. When she told him she had epilepsy, he shouted, “Good!”
The tense dashcam video of the 28-year-old black woman getting pulled over by a white Texas state trooper for not signaling a lane change renewed the national debate Wednesday over how police treat blacks and outraged some critics of law enforcement who saw a motorist who was squarely within her rights.
Bland, who talked about police brutality on social media before her arrest, seemed to be aware of her civil liberties. And a range of experts said the officer’s orders to the 28-year-old motorist were probably lawful, even if his behavior appeared exceptionally aggressive for the circumstances.
Bland’s traffic stop drew special attention because she was found dead in her jail cell three days later, and family and supporters continue to dispute that she hanged herself with a plastic garbage bag, as authorities have concluded. The FBI is supervising a state investigation into the death.
Experts including former law enforcement officials and civil rights attorneys say the video is not a clear-cut case of an officer overstepping his authority in the face of an agitated motorist.
“Believe it or not, sometimes you can’t just look at the video and tell,” said Phillip Lyons, a former police officer and current dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
The video of the traffic stop in rural Waller County drew more than 1.2 million views on YouTube, less than a day after the Department of Public Safety made the footage public.
The state trooper pulled over Bland on July 10, when she was at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college, to interview for a job at her alma mater.
The traffic stop swiftly escalates into a shouting match after trooper Brian Encinia tells Bland she seems “irritated” and asks her to put out her cigarette. When Bland protests — “I’m in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?” — Encinia orders her on the street and opens the door to drag her out when she doesn’t comply.
Simply ignoring instructions to stop smoking typically isn’t sufficient grounds for police to demand someone to get out of their car. But officers also have wide discretion to take control of a scene.
Lyons said he saw nothing that was “clearly inappropriate or unnecessary” about the request, but the legal threshold rises when an officer determines that a driver must be physically removed from a vehicle.
The justification for using force is generally supposed to be proportional to the circumstances. Bland is asked more than a dozen times to get out. As he gives those orders, Encinia becomes visibly annoyed at her refusal and eventually reaches into the car.
“We don’t observe anything that would suggest there was a legitimate law enforcement reason to get out of the car. It seems to be just an issue of asserting his authority,” said Rebecca Robertson, the legal and policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
But at the same time, Robertson said, if an officer instructs you to get out, “you have to get out of the car.”
Bland ultimately steps out of her car on her own after the trooper says, “I will light you up,” an apparent threat to use the stun gun he had drawn.
The speed with which Bland was threatened seems to run counter to best practices described in a 2011 Justice Department report about Tasers. The report cited a police survey in which most departments said they allow only “soft tactics,” such as pushing, against someone who refuses to comply but doesn’t physically resist.
Bland also tried recording the encounter on her phone before being told to stop, which experts say is a command police can rightfully make if it interferes with their duties.
To some experts who watched the video, it would have been in the interests of both Bland and Encinia to simply remain calm.
The director of the Department of Public Safety, Steve McCraw, has said Encinia violated internal policies of professionalism and courtesy, but he has not said the trooper acted outside the bounds of the law. Encinia has been placed on administrative leave for violating unspecified police procedures and DPS policy.
“His whole demeanor, his vocabulary, the way that he spoke to this motorist,” said Vernon Herron, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Health and Homeland Security at The University of Maryland. “I just think it added to the fact that she became combative.”
When the confrontation moves off-camera onto the sidewalk, Bland is heard screaming that the trooper is about to break her wrists as she is handcuffed. Bland was arrested for assault on a public servant. In an arrest affidavit, the trooper wrote that Bland had swung her elbows at him and kicked him in the shin.
Associated Press Writer Jamie Stengle in Dallas contributed to this report.
Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber .
Dashcam video posted by Texas Department of Public Safety: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaW09Ymr2BA .
CLINTON, Conn. (AP) — A teenager may be in trouble with federal aviation officials after posting online a video that shows shots being fired from a drone that had been rigged to carry a handgun.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday it was investigating whether 18-year-old Austin Haughwout, of Clinton, violated its regulations, which prohibit the careless or reckless operation of a model aircraft.
Haughwout’s father told WFSB-TV last week that his son created the drone with the help of a Central Connecticut State University professor. The 14-second video shows a four-propeller drone with a semiautomatic handgun strapped on top hovering as it fires four shots in a wooded area.
The FAA said it was working with Clinton police, who also are investigating. Haughwout did not immediately return telephone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Haughwout made news last year when police charged a woman with assault after she confronted him about flying a drone at a state beach. Andrea Mears, of Westbrook, was sentenced to probation in July 2014. A video Haughwout posted showed Mears calling him a pervert, striking him and ripping his shirt.
Haughwout said he had been using the remote-controlled drone, called a quadcopter, to get footage of the landscape from about 50 feet above the beach when Mears confronted him.
Drone video: http://bit.ly/1HPQUt9
This story has been corrected to show that the 18-year-old’s last name is Haughwout, not Haghwout.
NEW YORK (AP) — Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj traded words on Twitter after the rapper said she was upset she didn’t earn a nomination for video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Minaj tweeted multiple times that she didn’t understand why her rump-shaking video for “Anaconda” wasn’t up for the top award when MTV announced the nominees Tuesday.
She wrote in one tweet: “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.” She also tweeted, “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination.”
Minaj did not mention specific artists in her tweets.
Swift, who’s “Bad Blood” is nominated for video of the year, is the top VMA contender with nine nominations.
“I’ve done nothing but love & support you,” she tweeted to Minaj. “It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.”
Nominees for video of the year include Beyonce’s “7/11,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk.”
Minaj said she never mentioned Swift in her tweets.
“Huh? U must not be reading my tweets. Didn’t say a word about u,” Minaj said to Swift. “I love u just as much. But u should speak on this.”
“If I win, please come up with me!! You’re invited to any stage I’m ever on,” Swift replied.
“Anaconda,” released a year ago, has 488 million views on YouTube. It earned VMA nominations for best female video and hip-hop video. Minaj is also up for best collaboration for “Bang Bang” with Ariana Grande and Jessie J.
Swift’s nominations for “Bad Blood” include best collaboration, direction, editing, visual effects, art direction and cinematography. Her other hit, “Blank Space,” which boasts 1 billion views on YouTube, is nominated for best female video and pop video.
“Bad Blood,” the action-packed clip that starred Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez and Lamar, has 360 million views on YouTube.
Miley Cyrus will host the 2015 VMAs, which will air live Aug. 30 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
NEW YORK (AP) — Taylor Swift’s star-studded “Bad Blood” music video is paying off: She’s the top nominee at next month’s MTV Video Music Awards.
Swift is nominated for nine moonmen, including video of the year for “Bad Blood,” starring Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham and more of the pop star’s famous friends.
Kendrick Lamar, who is featured on “Bad Blood,” is nominated for video of the year thanks to his own hit, “Alright.” Other nominees for the top prize include Beyonce’s “7/11,” Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking out Loud” and “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson.
The 2015 VMAs, hosted by Miley Cyrus, will air live Aug. 30 from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Sheeran has six nominations, while Beyonce, Lamar and Ronson have five each.
Swift’s “Blank Space” will compete for best female video and pop video, while “Bad Blood” is up for best collaboration, direction, editing, visual effects, art direction and cinematography.
Fans can begin voting Tuesday.
Beyonce, Sia, Nicki Minaj and Ellie Goulding will battle Swift for best female video, while Sheeran, Lamar, Ronson, the Weeknd and Nick Jonas will compete for best male video.
Diplo, FKA twigs, Skrillex and Minaj earned three nominations each, while the Weeknd, Ariana Grande and Fetty Wap are double nominees.
Cyrus, who won video of the year last year for “Wrecking Ball,” dominated the 2013 VMAs when she grinded on Robin Thicke during a performance that trended heavily on social media. Cyrus wrote in an Instagram post Monday that “MTV won’t let me perform … so I’m hosting this year’s VMAs.”
BALTIMORE (AP) — City surveillance video and police radio transmissions newly released by Baltimore authorities show the beginning of rioting and the police response in part of the city after Freddie Gray’s funeral.
The audio transmissions detail officers’ efforts to gain control on city streets after the April 27 funeral for Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody.
The police union has accused top brass of instructing officers to not engage rioters, allowing looting. On the transmissions, orders instructing officers to “hold the line” are heard, but there are no orders to “stand down.”
The video, obtained by The Baltimore Sun (http://bsun.md/1TNN635), shows people stream into the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues, a main area of rioting, and begin to attack cruisers, break into businesses and set fires. Officers periodically move in, then a line of officers in riot gear moves in to control the intersection 90 minutes later.