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The Murder of Samuel Dubose

[Current Events]

“He is then shot, point blank, in the head.”

by Sybilka Storie

[Sybilka Storie is an art photogrpaher in Cincinnati, Ohio. This reflection on current news events involving a recent Ohio police shooting is from the author’s Facebook page. ~Editor]

I rarely speak on the political or social landscape of our nation. I personally feel like discussing these matters on Facebook can and do lead to more disinformation and harm than good. However, on this day, with the Samuel Dubose case being the spotlight, as well as our city of Cincinnati, I feel compelled to say my part. This man was murdered. Point blank. Without the critical ability for rational thought that we, as a people, entrust to our representatives of the law enforcement in our community. Yes, he had a record. Yes, he started the car in what seemed to be intent to flee the officer. Yes, he was possibly intoxicated.

On that note, the officer was a UC police officer performing a traffic stop over a mile away from UC property. Dubose says that he must have forgotten his license and states that and asks that the officer run his name. Instead, the officer asks that Dubose exit the vehicle while going to open his car door. This clearly is unsettling to Dubose who reacts by starting his car but makes no violent gesture towards the cop. He is then shot, point blank, in the head.

Now, while many will argue that he should have complied with the officer’s orders and that this is what led to his unnecessary death, I call bullshit.

It was a traffic stop. His information was obtained. He seemed intoxicated. He was non violent. These are all things that need to be taken into consideration by the officer making the stop. If he was going to run, he wasn’t going far. He is clearly fearful of the officer and not aggressive. The judgements of this officer were unequivocally wrong. In consideration of the ongoing, marred and violence ridden state of relations between African Americans and coinciding police forces, I am in no way surprised he acted that way.

My fiance and I were stopped the other day while walking across the street in our neighborhood. A predominantly white neighborhood. We were yelled at by a cop from across 2 lanes “hey you! Stop. Get over here”. We both froze and looked at each other in panic. I remember thinking “fuck, we didn’t do anything. Quick, Syb, remember your rights. But don’t piss him off.” I felt nothing but complete fear and confusion. I yelled back at the cop “me?”. He yelled back “no! Him!”. My fiance looked at me and shook his head. “No way. They shoot people.”

My fiance has no record. Not even a speeding ticket. Yet, this interaction with the police had us completely and utterly in panic. Fortunately, it turned out that this was an officer that knew my fiance from when he worked in OTR and was just joking around.

My point is, however, that if two white people walking around in Hyde Park are that shaken up by a police officer yelling at them, than how nervous do you think a black man would be after being pulled over in Clifton. I realize that last statement may cause some controversy but fuck it, it’s true. There is an undeniable and unapologetic distinction with which the African American community and the white community of this country are treated by law enforcement. Something that we all should consider. Actually, it is imperative that we do so. No one, of any race, gender or creed is invulnerable to the ignorance of corruption.

Eventually, we will all be victims of it.

I personally feel pride for our city of Cincinnati, for approaching this situation in the way that it did. Showing an unwavering dedication to bringing justice to light. And I hope this could be an example for the rest of the country. I wonder to myself if it has to do with the fact that we are, as a city, a powder keg. A long standing echo of a simmering. Always ready for that match to light the fire.

Regardless, this is a chance for a new way, a new approach. This man, this son to a mother and father, this HUMAN BEING…. his death does not, must not be in vain. We can put all of our prejudices aside, no matter what they are. We can stop trying to find our own reasons to justify which side we fall on. We can all fall on the side of humanity.

Picture from Sybilka Storie's facebook post.

Picture from Sybilka Storie’s facebook post.

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