Three trials, no convictions in fatal police shootings
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 26, 2017,
Jun 26, 2017, 3:39
Prosecutors in Cincinnati are facing the prospect of a possible third trial of former police officer Ray Tensing, who for the second time didn't receive a conviction or an acquittal Friday in the controversial shooting death of a motorist two years ago.
Tensing is the third officer in the past week to beat a case stemming from their on-duty shooting of a black man.
Tensing, 27, was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in a retrial of the case. The first round also ended in a mistrial previous year with a jury unable to come to a unanimous verdict after deliberating for more than 20 hours. Intriguingly, the first trial of Tensing in the shooting death of DuBose also ended in a hung jury, thereby paving the way for his retrial and Friday's verdict.
Tensing was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing Sam DuBose during a 2015 traffic stop.
In closing arguments, Tensing's attorney, Stew Mathews, told the jury that DuBose "elected to start that auto, put it into gear and take off with Ray Tensing's arm trapped inside it". The defense said that Tensing had thought he was in danger and acted out of instinct.
Instead, they sent her another note some three hours later saying: "We are nearly evenly split regarding our votes". "We call on the community to join us in peaceful protest of this unjust result", the family said.
Jurors had deliberated almost 26 hours through Thursday in former University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing's second trial. As I tell people all the time, there's always a final court.
United States prosecutors have found it hard to convict police officers in high-profile shooting cases involving black victims - despite recent incidents being captured on video. Many, but not all, said they had previously seen at least parts of the body camera video from the incident. The officer then ordered him to step out of his auto and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused. His first trial had 10 whites and two blacks.
Prosecutors argued evidenced showed no threat to Tensing and that he had deliberately chose to reach for his gun. Tensing opens the driver's door a few inches, but DuBose pulls it back closed.
The first trial took place in 2016, and a mistrial was declared then after the jury was deadlocked.
Mr Tensing then asks Mr DuBose to unbuckle his seatbelt.
If convicted, Tensing could go to prison for life, said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters in a press conference in which he played body camera footage of the shooting. Instead, police said, Dubose handed the officer a bottle of alcohol.
Tensing pulled DuBose over because his vehicle didn't have a front tag and because his back tag was registered to a driver with a suspended license, DuBose's girlfriend, Mathews said. The Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot Castile during a traffic stop. The university reached a $5.3m settlement with DuBose's family, including free undergraduate tuition for DuBose's 13 children.