Act now to ensure Samuel DuBose’s death is not in vain
Dear Governor Kasich,
I write to you today because I am frustrated and concerned with events that have unfolded in Cincinnati, Ohio and throughout the nation. I urge you to use your executive authority to ensure the safety and security of both our citizens and our law enforcement officials. I ask that you take immediate action to work to remove front license plate requirements and to implement mandatory body cameras for all law enforcement officers.
On July 19, 2015, Samuel DuBose was said to have been stopped by a University of Cincinnati police officer allegedly over a missing front license plate on his vehicle. What should have been a routine traffic stop ended with a bullet to the head. While Mr. DuBose’s failure to comply with the dual license plate law did not cause his death, emphasizing cracking down on minor infractions certainly does not ease community-police tensions. Under no circumstance should a man have to die while getting stopped for a minor infraction such as not having a front license plate.
Removing Ohio’s front license plate requirement would be a step in the right direction so that our law enforcement officials can better focus on keeping our communities safe. Ohio would join 19 other states in not requiring dual plates, including Indiana and Kentucky.
More important in the Samuel DuBose case, however, is the crucial role police-worn body cameras played in the legal process. The account as told by the police officer detailed a struggle and the officer being dragged by Mr. DuBose’s vehicle as he sped away. However, once we were able to view the footage from the officer’s body camera, the truth of the incident was far different. The lead prosecutor in this case has stated that without this camera, Mr. DuBose’s family would likely have not found justice for their son.
This case shows body cameras are critical in getting the story right. They provide transparency and safety not only for citizens, but for our officers. Body cameras are an effective and essential tool for providing truth and justice to the people of our state. We must do everything in our power to ensure body cameras are standard issue for every single law enforcement official in the state of Ohio. It is a matter of transparency; it is a matter of justice.
This tragic event has led to citizens calling for justice and reform in Ohio and throughout the nation.
I urge you to use your office to make real, substantive change on behalf of Ohioans by removing front license plate requirements and to implement mandatory body cameras for law enforcement. Please help us send the strong message to Americans everywhere that Samuel DuBose did not die in vain.
Thank you for your consideration.
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