CINCINNATI (Reuters) - A University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man has been charged with murder after a grand jury probe, the Hamilton County prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Joseph Deters called the July 19 shooting of Samuel Dubose, 43, "senseless" and totally unnecessary.
Deters said campus police officer Ray Tensing, who is white, had purposely shot Dubose, who was not resisting after he was pulled over for not having a front license plate on his car.
"I've been doing this for 30 years. This is the most asinine act I've ever seen a police officer make, totally unwarranted," Deters told reporters after meeting with Dubose's family.
Deters said Tensing would be arrested if he did not turn himself in. Media reports said he had surrendered.
A body camera video Deters played for reporters showed Tensing running after the slowly rolling car after the stop, and was not dragged by the car as the officer had reported.
Deters also said Tensing failed to issue simple, nonviolent commands.
The city was bracing for possible unrest after the announcement of the grand jury's decision and the University of Cincinnati had shut down in case of protests. The university said it will review its policing strategy in the wake of the shooting.
The incident was the latest in a series of fatal police confrontations across the United States that have raised questions about police use of force against minorities.
The family had sought the release of the video and hundreds of protesters marched on Sunday in Cincinnati demanding it be made public. Deters said he did not want to taint the grand jury by releasing it before they reviewed the case.
The family saw the video on Wednesday for the first time and met with Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
The family urged calm in the community, according to Cranley spokesman Kevin Osborne.
Dubose's family has hired attorney Mark O'Mara, who represented George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago and Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Bill Trott)
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