Ohio judge declares mistrial for officer who shot Samuel DuBose

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yesterday, Judge Leslie Ghiz declared a mistrial in the case of University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who was on trial for the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop in 2015. Tensing is white and DuBose was black. The trial took place in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the second mistrial of Tensing for this crime.

The jurors told the judge they were "almost evenly split" after deliberating for 31 hours. Tensing was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. Nine of the jurors were white, and three were black.

A crowd of protesters gathered outside the courthouse. One, Charles Campbell, said, "This is a miscarriage of justice, this is unacceptable[...] We cannot allow this in our city. We cannot allow this in our country. I'm here to share solidarity with the family of Sam DuBose, and the family of all these people who are being gunned down by police officers with impunity." De Bose's family has requested that all protests remain peaceful.

Tensing did not deny fatally shooting DuBose, instead arguing he feared for his life during their encounter. Tensing was wearing a body camera when he pulled DuBose over for the lack of a front license plate on his vehicle. DuBose stopped the car but did not show Tensing his license and registration when asked. Tensing told DuBose to step out of the car, and DuBose refused and began to drive away while Tensing's hand was still inside the vehicle. The images from his camera grow shaky and difficult to parse at around that point. Tensing called out "Stop! Stop!" and then shot DuBose in the head. The entire incident took under two minutes. Two other officers, also present, also recorded the incident. At the time, Tensing was 25 and DuBose 43. The University of Cincinnati agreed to pay over US$4 million to DuBose's family, and to educate DuBose's 12 children.

Tensing is the third US police officer in roughly a week to be tried but not convicted for shooting a black man, though his is the only case to end in a mistrial. Jeronimo Yanaz was acquitted for killing Philando Castile and Dominique Heaggan-Brown for killing Sylville K. Smith.