Samuel Dubose was pulled over for not having a front license plate early last week. Ray Tensing, the officer who stopped him, wasn’t a municipal officer, however. He was a campus cop for the University of Cincinnati.
When Dubose failed to produce a driver license, Tensing asked him to step out of the car. Seconds later, Dubose was dead.
The university police department later released video of the shooting, captured on the officer’s body camera.
Warning: This video is graphic.
The shooting now raises questions about the power of campus departments, and if they should be armed.
Gloria Browne-Marshall teaches constitutional law at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. She tells Take Two little is known about how the nation’s nearly 800 campus departments operate. Most aren’t even required to release incident details. “We don’t know how they’re trained,” she says. “[We] don’t know the racial impact, the racial sensitivity regarding race, or what the racial disparity might be around arrests and detainments … We have no information aside from what they may reveal at any given time.”
Many departments regularly review data to improve policing. The Cincinnati Police Department introduced reforms after an officer shot a 19-year-old black man in 2001.
Browne-Marshall says there’s a reason campuses choose to withhold this kind of information: it’s bad for business. “Education is a business, and you don’t want to scare off the customers. You don’t want to scare parents, because the parents, of course, are making the final money decision when it comes to where their children are going to be educated,” she explains.
In the age of campus shootings, many colleges opt to arm their police departments. Browne-Marshall thinks this is a bad idea. “It’s like giving deadly force to the local security person at the Rite Aid, CVS, Walmart, or wherever you might go. [That] person has the ability to take a life when we don’t know what kind of [judgement] they’re using.”
Press the play button above to hear more about the challenges with regulating college campus police departments.