A judge declared a mistrial Friday after a jury deadlocked in the case of a former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a 2015 traffic stop, the latest in a series of high-profile law enforcement shootings that spurred charges but not convictions.
The mistrial was the third time in a week that jurors weighing a fatal shooting by a police officer did not convict the officer involved, following acquittals in other cases. It was also the second time a jury has deadlocked considering this particular shooting.
Judge Leslie E. Ghiz, speaking from the bench, read from a note sent by the jurors who said they were “almost evenly split regarding our votes toward a final verdict” and unable to reach a unanimous decision.
The outcome came just days after officers were acquitted of deadly shootings in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and it concluded the second trial of Raymond Tensing, who was charged with murder after fatally shooting Samuel DuBose during a routine traffic stop in July 2015.
While Ghiz declared a mistrial, Tensing — seated at the defense table in front of her — initially stared straight ahead without responding, and then put his head down, rubbing his eyes with his left hand.
DuBose’s mother, Audrey, released a statement saying his family was “outraged that a second jury has now failed to convict Ray Tensing for the murder of our beloved Sam DuBose.” She also called for a third trial in the case.
A jury deadlocked in Tensing’s first trial in November, and Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters quickly vowed to retry him, saying he hoped that another jury would “be able to reach a decision to bring justice in this case for the victim’s family and our community.”
A spokeswoman for Deters said Friday he would not comment on the trial’s outcome until next week. She said Deters has not previously addressed whether he would seek a third trial in the case.
Deters had previously assailed Tensing for what he called a “senseless, asinine shooting,” which occurred not far from the University of Cincinnati campus where Tensing worked as an officer.
Tensing, who was later fired by the university, stopped DuBose on the evening of July 19. According to the initial police report, Tensing had described being forced to shoot DuBose because he was being dragged by the car and nearly run over, which Deters said was untrue.
Like the cases in Wisconsin and Minnesota that recently ended with acquittals, DuBose’s death was captured on video. Footage from Tensing’s body camera, released the day he was arrested and charged, showed that the fatal encounter unfolded in less than two minutes.
During the stop, Tensing asked DuBose, 43, to take off his seat belt, and DuBose is seen turning on the ignition. Tensing is then seen reaching toward the door, yelling “Stop!” and shoving his gun into the car window, firing a single round into DuBose’s head.
The graphic body-camera footage joined a macabre library of other videos showing fatal police shootings across the country. While many other recordings that spread widely on social media were captured by bystanders or police dashboard cameras, some of them recorded from a distance, the Tensing case was unusual in that the footage effectively showed the officer’s perspective.
As the traffic stop began, Tensing greeted DuBose: “Hey, how’s it going, man?” 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. DuBose eventually said he did not have it with him.
Tensing then asked DuBose to take off his seat belt. DuBose said he had not done anything wrong and appeared to turn the car back on, at which point Tensing drew his gun. After Tensing fired the fatal shot, the car lurched forward and eventually came to a stop down the street, while Tensing ran after it, shouting to a dispatcher that medical attention was needed.
Announcing the charge against Tensing during a news conference 10 days later, Deters said that his office had reviewed more than 100 police shootings and “this is the first time that we’ve thought, ‘This is without question a murder.’ ”
*Taken from the Washington Post.