A longtime friend of Samuel Dubose, the unarmed black man shot to death by a white University of Cincinnati police officer during a traffic stop, says he hopes the killing will show the world that “our lives matter.”
Donte Fleming, who knew Dubose for 20 years, described his friend as a loving father and gentle man.
“He had a good spirit in him, so I can’t understand why someone would shoot him,” Fleming told NBC News on Thursday. “I watched the long version of the tape last night, and I still don’t have any words for it.”
Officer Ray Tensing was indicted for murder on Wednesday. He shot and killed Dubose after pulling him over for a missing front license plate. The officer was wearing a camera that proved crucial to prosecutors.
Tensing pleaded not guilty on Thursday.
The killing is the latest to focus the country’s attention on police treatment of African-Americans. Fleming said what happened to Dubose could have happened to him or any of their friends.
“Hopefully this will be the turning point when the rest of the world starts to understand that our lives matter,” he said. “We love our children, and our husbands, and our fathers and our uncles just as much as they do. We deserve the right to live and be free.”
He went on: “We shouldn’t have to ride down the street thinking about getting pulled over for a traffic stop or an illegal plate or illegal signal and wind up dead. It’s just not fair for our people to have to live that way when everyone else gets to ride around feeling protected.”
Fleming said he last saw Dubose on July 15, four days before the encounter with the officer, when they went to a Wu-Tang Clan concert together. Dubose was a music engineer and a producer.
On Wednesday, Fleming posted a track, “None Like You,” to the audio platform Soundcloud. It features Dubose rapping alongside a singer whose career he was managing at the time.
Fleming said he did it “so the world could hear his voice.”