A grand jury in Cincinnati indicted University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing yesterday for the murder of Sam DuBose, an unarmed black man, during a traffic stop a few weeks ago.
“This is without question a murder,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said yesterday. “It was a senseless, asinine shooting.”
But to look at some of the images chosen by media outlets yesterday, it would be hard to say who was the killer and who was the victim.
Here's what NBC decided to use, an old mug shot of murder victim Sam DuBose, alongside a photo of Ray Tensing in full police regalia, with a U.S. flag nicely positioned in the background:
Here's what a mugshot of an accused murderer next to his victim should look like:
Rigel Robinson was not the only one to notice:
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The mugshots weren't just being spread around by NBC. From the BBC:
From People magazine:
UPDATE: Univision, one of Fusion's parent companies, also used the photos in a video report:
And from CNN:
Although they later changed their images, at least on twitter:
Using a mugshot that has no relevance to the circumstances in which Sam DuBose was killed—up against a fully-uniformed photo of his accused killer—suggests that DuBose did something criminal to instigate the cop in his shooting. As yesterday's grand jury decision confirms, this is blatantly not true. It warps the real story: a cop who allegedly killed an innocent man for no good reason.
Let's say this together: murder victims are not perpetrators. Don't portray them as if they are. #dobetter