Tensing Gets Another Mistrial
Another mistrial has been declared in the prosecution of University of Cincinnati police officer, Ray Tensing, who was accused of fatally shooting an African American man he pulled over for driving a car without a front license plate. He was charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter in the July 2015 death of Sam DuBose, a 43-year-old father of 13 children. Judge Leslie Ghiz made the announcement in the second attempt to try the officer, after jurors — nine Caucasian jurors and three African American jurors — spent five days deliberating without coming to a conclusion in the case. They were split down the middle with their decision. “We are almost evenly split regarding our final votes,” the jury said in the note. This was despite the fact that prosecutors called the case was a “slam-dunk” on manslaughter charges during closing arguments.
Tensing rubbed his forehead and shook his head when yet another mistrial was declared. The first mistrial was also a results of a hung jury. Prosecutors have claimed there was no justification for the shooting. However, Tensing’s attorney, Stew Matthews, argues his client believed at the time that his arm was caught in the steering wheel—a claim contradicted by video evidence—and thought his life was in danger.
During the traffic stop two years ago, Tensing pulled over DuBose and asked for his driver’s license and registration, which he failed to provide. The officer then ordered him to step out of his vehicle and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused and instead, the man began to pull away. Tensing yelled, “Stop! Stop!” and an almost two-minute conversation ensued before Tensing fired his gun at DuBose, shooting him in the head.
DuBose’s family said in a statement released shortly after the mistrial that they were “outraged” that a second jury failed to convict Tensing. However, DuBose’s mother stated, “God’s will is sufficient,” as she left the court building and made her way through a crowd of 40 protesters after the most recent trial. It will now be up to Prosecutor Joe Deters to decide whether Tensing will be tried another time. The county’s former prosecutor, Mike Allen, said Deters’ decision to pursue the trial a second time without any new evidence “was grossly irresponsible.” He added, “I think justice cried out for that. I think stubbornly and arrogantly (Deters) didn’t do that because everyone was telling him to do it. There was a chance for a do-over. There was a chance to do this right. That didn’t happen, and I think that is very unfortunate for this community.”
A lead investigator who testified for the prosecution in the second trial dropped a bombshell when he stated he felt that Tensing may have been justified in his actions. This twist in the case could have ultimately led to another indecisive result. Tensing’s lawyer, Stew Mathews, is waiting patiently for an end to the whole ordeal. “Meanwhile, let the politicians tell us about what justice is,” he stated. The trial is the third in a week in which the trial of a police officer for shooting an African American man ended without a conviction.