UC reopens Thursday after calm night

UC campus reopens
The Ohio State Highway Patrol's Special Response Team responded to UC's Clifton campus. (FOX19 NOW/Jessica Brown)
The Ohio State Highway Patrol's Special Response Team responded to UC's Clifton campus. (FOX19 NOW/Jessica Brown)
Samuel DuBose (Provided)
Samuel DuBose (Provided)
President Santa Ono speaking at Wednesday's press conference (Photo: FOX19 NOW)
President Santa Ono speaking at Wednesday's press conference (Photo: FOX19 NOW)
University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing (FOX19 NOW/file)
University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing (FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati will reopen Thursday after closing its Uptown and Medical campus just before a grand jury indicted one of its officers on a murder charge Wednesday.

UC President Santo Ono said the school will review its police department's policies and procedures and take necessary steps to address any changes necessary in the wake of Samuel DuBose's killing.

In an email, he expressed gratitude for the handling of the investigation into the incident,which has gained national attention.

"I want to thank everyone in our UC community as well as the Cincinnati community and across the nation for their patience and understanding during the past 10 days," Ono wrote "I am pleased that the video from Officer Tensing's body-camera has now been made public by the Hamilton County prosecutor. We are grateful to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office for completing its investigation quickly.

"Hopefully, we can now turn our attention to the frank and open discussions that we need to have and work our hardest to create a more just community, here on our UC campuses and across our nation."

Ono joined city and police officials in a press conference Wednesday and announced Tensing was fired.

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black said the city will continue to support UC "however we can. We also urge UC officials to seek out community input as they explore how they might be able to adopt elements of the city's landmark Collaborative Agreement."

UC officials said their decision to close Wednesday "was made with an abundance of caution in anticipation of today's announcement of the Hamilton County grand jury's decision regarding the July 19 officer-involved shooting of Samuel DuBose and the release of the officer's body camera video,' reads an alert sent to students and staff. "We realize this is a challenging time for our university community."

Barricades were erected around campus by 11 a.m. and several Ohio State Highway Patrol vehicles arrived, including a Special Response Team truck.

Most staff members left as soon as soon as closure alert came out at 10:30 a.m., said Barry Soulthers, an assistant professor who teaches MRI the College of Allied Health Sciences.

"It's a pretty tense feeling among the people that are here," Soulthers said as he left Wednesday. "I am one of the last people to leave our building. It's pretty much a ghost town. But I didn't see any police or anybody out. When you are walking outside it looks like an ordinary day. People are concerned because they don't know what's going to happen. The city has had riots in the past and all the things going on in the news recently I think a lot of people are worried it's going to be more of the same."

But the barricades were taken down shortly after 2 p.m.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley praised Deters for doing the "right thing" and "for keeping integrity through this process and unity in our community right now."

He said police are ready to respond to any situations that develop, but city officials are hopeful demonstrations will be calm.

Those who feel the need to express their moral outrage are encouraged to do so in a peaceful manner," Cranley said. "We, Cincinnati, will get through this. We will get through this with a great justice process."

Protests over Dubose's death have been peaceful so far, including a gathering that drew hundreds on a walk from UC to Mt. Auburn Sunday.

"This is a tragedy for our community and our hearts go out to the DuBose family," said Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. "We recognize that this is a difficult time for our entire community and we are appreciative of Prosecutor Deters and his office for the timely conclusion of their investigation. CPD is committed to protecting the city and our citizens. While we are hopeful for the peaceful protesting of today's decision, we are operationally prepared to respond. Violence and lawlessness will not be tolerated."

City officials say they are prepared and have cautioned that destruction and riots that occurred in Baltimore and Ferguson over the past year will not be tolerated here and reiterated that Wednesday.

Riots broke out in Cincinnati over three days in April 2001 after a Cincinnati police officer shot and killed a fleeing, unarmed black teen and police officials repeatedly refused to explain what led up to the encounter.

Federal authorities came to town at then-Mayor Charlie Luken's request.

The Justice Department, Cincinnati police and local civil rights groups signed a Collaborative Agreement that guided change and turned the police department into a model for police-community relations.

Copyright 2015 WXIX. All rights reserved.