A 2nd Mistrial: Jury Deadlocks In Ohio Cop's Murder Retrial
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 24, 2017,
Jun 24, 2017, 6:59
CINCINNATI (AP) - A mistrial was declared Friday in the murder retrial of a white University of Cincinnati police officer after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on charges in the fatal traffic stop shooting of an unarmed black motorist.
The jurors had said earlier on Friday that they were unable to reach a verdict in Tensing's trial, but Ghiz had sent them back to try again on the counts of murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Jurors told Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz Friday that they were split on whether to convict Tensing in the death of Sam DuBose, who was shot dead during a traffic stop in in Cincinnati in July 2015. This comes after a mistrial was also declared when the case was initially brought to court past year.
In May, a white Oklahoma police officer, who says she fired out of fear previous year when she killed an unarmed black man with his hands held above his head, was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter charges. The officer explained that DuBose was stopped for not displaying a front license plate on his green Honda Accord, and asked multiple times for DuBose's license.
Prosecutors could bring the case a third time, or decide charges they initially believed were water-tight are now unwinnable under the "reasonable officer" standard juries are instructed to apply to police killings. The defense said that Tensing had thought he was in danger and acted out of instinct. In the video, Mr Tensing approaches Mr DuBose during a traffic stop.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, claimed that the video shows that DuBose's vehicle wasn't moving until about one second before Tensing fired his gun, therefore "Tensing wasn't in reasonable fear of his life when he made the decision to shoot DuBose", the AP reported. His first trial had 10 white people and two black people.
The prosecutor during the first trial, Joseph Deters, had strongly criticised the shooting. In Minnesota, a jury acquitted Jeronimo Yanez of manslaughter in the shooting death of Philando Castile; in Wisconsin, a jury found ex-officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown not guilty of reckless homicide for shooting Sylville Smith, who was unarmed.
For a second time, the family of Sam DuBose saw Ray Tensing walk free when jurors failed to agree on a conviction, resulting in a mistrial. "We can not proceed coming to a unanimous decision", the jury said, after deliberating about 30 hours.
Tensing is white. DuBose was black.
Also, in an extremely unusual moment, a lead investigator who testified for the prosecution offered an opinion that Tensing may have been justified.
Tensing has been out of prison on bond since July 2015.
She demanded a retrial and called for peaceful protests.
During closing arguments, prosecutors said the case was a "slam-dunk" on manslaughter charges, according to NBC Cincinnati WLWT5.
Prosecutors say his body-camera video and other evidence doesn't support his decision to shoot DuBose in the head at close range.
DuBose was one of 991 people fatally shot by a police officer in 2015, a number that was essentially unchanged a year ago, according to an ongoing Washington Post database tracking such shootings. "I didn't shoot to kill him". After five days of deliberations, the mistrial was declared this afternoon.
The officer fired a single round, hitting Mr DuBose in the head.
"[Tensing] wasn't dealing with someone wanted for murder", Deters said after Tensing was charged.
In January 2016, the University of Cincinnati settled a lawsuit with DuBose's family for $5.3 million.