Former cop accused of killing black man will be retried

CINCINNATI — A former university police officer accused of killing an unarmed black motorist during a traffic stop will will be retried on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges, Hamilton County's prosecutor announced Tuesday.

A Hamilton County judge declared a mistrial Nov. 12 on the same charges after a Common Pleas Court jury spent 25 hours in deliberations but could not come to a unanimous decision on either charge.

"After careful consideration, I have decided that the Tensing case will be retried," county Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a news release. "This decision was made after review of the trial transcript, discussion with some of the jurors, and consultation with my staff. I am hopeful that a second jury will be able to reach a decision to bring justice in this case for the victim's family and our community."

In his Tuesday release, Deters said he would be asking for a change of venue, pointing to Cleveland or Columbus as potential destinations for a new trial.

Earlier this month, the jury of six white men, four white women and two black women ended up deadlocked 8-4 on the voluntary manslaughter charge, the lesser of the two charges presented during the trial, the prosecutor said.

In an early straw poll, jurors thought Ray Tensing was guilty of murder. But in an official vote, only “three or four” cast their vote for the charge, which carries a life prison term, Deters revealed in recent days.

Tensing, a white officer who was working for the University of Cincinnati police, fatally shot Sam DuBose during a traffic stop in July 2015 in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Mount Auburn adjacent to the school.

Convicting a police officer of murder is difficult because jurors understand that lethal force can be part of the job.

Tensing testified that DuBose was trying to flee, it was his perception that he was being dragged and he feared for his life. The only way to "stop the threat" was to take the fatal shot, Tensing said.

A video expert testifying on behalf of the prosecutor’s office said DuBose moved a couple of feet but was not being dragged.

The trial was filled with bombshell testimony: The day of the shooting, Tensing was wearing a T-shirt depicting an image of the Confederate Flag, according to an witness and the public heard from Tensing himself for the first time in his recorded police interview and on the stand.

Deters’ other options included dismissing the charges, prosecuting only on the lesser charge or presenting the case again to a grand jury and seeking different charges.

Follow Kevin Grasha, Mark Curnutte and Sharon Coolidge on Twitter: @kgrasha@MarkCurnutte and @SharonCoolidge


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment