Why did the grand jury not indict Tensing’s fellow officers for providing false statements?

I was surprised when the grand jury that indicted former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing for the murder of Sam DuBose decided not to indict officers Phillip Kidd and David Lingenschmidt for obstructing justice by providing false information about the shooting in their police reports. I was surprised because their written reports corroborated Tensing’s claim that DuBose dragged him down the street in an attempt to flee the scene. Tensing told investigators that he shot DuBose while he was being dragged down the street because he feared for his life. Unfortunately for Tensing and the two officers who corroborated his story, Tensing’s body cam established that he shot DuBose in the head while standing next to DuBose’s parked vehicle.

After considering the matter, I realized that the grand jury might have declined to indict the two officers due to a lack of evidence that they knew their statements contained false information when they made them. This is an important distinction that merits an explanation.

To prove that a person committed the crimes of providing a false statement and obstruction of justice, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

(1) the person made a statement about a possible crime to a law enforcement officer investigating that crime;

(2) the person knew their statement was false when they made it;

(3) the false statement concerned a material matter; and

(4) the person intended to prevent, delay or obstruct the investigation when they made the false statement.

The first three elements must be established to prove the crime of making a false statement. All four elements must be established to prove obstruction of justice.

To indict someone for committing a crime, the grand jury must find, on the basis of the evidence presented to it by the prosecution, that there is probable cause (i.e., reasonable grounds) to believe the person committed that crime.

To prove that a person committed a crime, a trial jury must decide unanimously that the prosecution proved each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

The stumbling block for the grand jury in the Tensing case may have been that the officers did not witness the shooting and merely repeated what Tensing told them.

An additional consideration may have caused the prosecution to back off on charging the officers. Assuming the officers have clarified their statements after they made them by explaining that they merely repeated what Tensing told them, the prosecution may have decided to call them as witnesses against Tensing.

Regardless how this plays out, no witness, especially a cop, should provide a statement that they witnessed an event when they are basing their statement on something a fellow officer told them. That’s grossly improper.



10 Responses to Why did the grand jury not indict Tensing’s fellow officers for providing false statements?

  1. Malisha says:

    I am HOPING that the two witness-cops have not been charged because there is a deal (hush) that has been made that they will not be charged if they will testify honestly about what they DID see.

    Remember what happened with the police giving their wishy-washy pro-Fogen testimony back in 2013 when we were counting on Serino to do right and he just became jello on the stand.

  2. bettykath says:

    The incident report we had available was one officer writing what Tensing and the other officer said. Probably not a lie. He said that Tensing’s shirt and trousers were dirty. This may be true but they could have been dirty for some other reason, maybe Tensing had to look under his own car for some reason. Or, if this officer was the only one to suggest that Tensing’s clothing was dirty, he’s probably lying. I haven’t seen the reports from Tensing or the other officer/s.

    If the officer who said he saw Tensing being dragged put it in his own report, he was lying and should be charged. He probably saw Tensing running after the car and didn’t realize that the distance between the car and the cop was such that the two were not connected. There is an IQ test given and those who score to highly don’t get hired.

  3. bronxlady1 says:

    That’s baloney! They aren’t sheep, or are they. That is worrisome. Sheep with guns.

    • anita says:

      I agree completely. This is my first comment in ages. I’ m so sleepy, right now,
      but I’ m back. Thanks Prof. Lying ass police must be exposed & stopped.

  4. racerrodig says:

    It’s the thin blue line. My dad was a cop and as sad as it is to say, they watch out for their own, for the most part, no mater what.

    I’d have to read their reports but I do know they cannot put in a report what another saw and have to word it like…..

    “(Name) stated they were standing at (location) at the time of the incident. Witness stated they observed vehicle A pass through the intersection with a green traffic light. Witness then stated Vehicle B collided at a high rate of speed into the drivers side of vehicle A. Vehicle B was observed to attempt to run through the red light.”

    The officer cannot state………

    Vehicle A ran the red light and struck Vehicle B unless he saw it.

    How any officer would say Tensing was dragged knowing a body cam was probably on is insanity.

    Then again, this is the new millennium….

  5. My niece, an officer, saw something that she knew was wrong. She was afraid she wouldn’t get backup when she needed it. She said others will ignore your call. I don’t know how serious it was but I haven’t heard her mention it again.

    Hi Professor and others! I’ve been busy doing genealogy, eyewitness watching the Confederate flag in Columbia and visiting the memorial at Mother Emmanuel where the church members were slain. Most visitors to the memorial are white (90-95%). Killer’s mission failed.

  6. Didn’t one of the officers say “I saw that” in response to Tensing saying he had been dragged? I think it went beyond simply accepting what Tensing said. I certainly wondered why the officer who said that (if I’m remembering correctly) wasn’t indicted for perjury.

  7. So what were the other officers on the scene doing if they didn’t actually witness the event?

    Hopefully, as you say, they will be called to testify against Tensing.

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