Around 200 people marched in Cincinnati Wednesday evening to protest police brutality after footage released earlier from Tensing's body cam showed the shooting.
"This was the purposeful killing of another person," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said at a news conference announcing the grand jury's decision to indict Officer Ray Tensing.
Tensing shot and killed Sam Dubose, 43, during a July 19 traffic stop.
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While Tensing claimed he had been dragged by the car before shooting, Deters said that the officer was not dragged. Rather, Tensing fell backwards after shooting Dubose in the head.
"This office has probably reviewed upwards of hundreds of police shootings, and this is the first time that we’ve thought this is without question a murder," Deters said.
"I'm treating him like a murderer," Deters said of Tensing, who was placed on administrative paid leave following the shooting.
Hours after the murder charge was announced and the body cam footage released, however, Tensing was fired from the department, CNN reported.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) July 29, 2015
Dubose was stopped near the University of Cincinnati campus because his car did not have a front license plate, which Deters called a "chicken-crap stop."
"This guy didn't deserve to be tased and he certainly didn't deserve to be shot in the head," Deters said of Dubose.
"Could you imagine the outrage you would have if this was your kid, if this was your brother, over a stop like this?" Deters said. "And he didn't do anything violent towards the officer. He wasn't dragging him. And he pulled out his gun and intentionally shot him in the head."
The University of Cincinnati cancelled classes Wednesday out of "an abundance of caution" due to the expected announcement of the grand jury's decision and release of footage capturing the shooting. Many on social media have been warning of public unrest, despite the indictment.
An attorney for Dubose's family on Wednesday said his relatives did not want a violent or aggressive response to the news of the indictment.
"We want those reactions to be completely peaceful," Mark O'Mara said. "Sam was a peaceful person … We do not want any violence, any anger to come out in a way that denigrates who he was and who he wanted to be remembered as."
Dubose's mother said she prayed that the truth about her son's death would be revealed.
"I thought it was going to be covered up,” Audrey Dubose said Wednesday. "I heard many stories and everything. But … I trust god, and I knew everything was going to be all right."
Police officers are rarely charged after fatally shooting people.
So far this year, more than 550 people have been shot and killed by US police, according to the Washington Post. Three officers have been charged in those shootings, and in at least two of those cases the shootings were captured on video.