A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a University of Cincinnati cop who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. The shooting occurred in July of 2015, after UC cop Ray Tensing stopped 43-year-old Sam DuBose for driving with a missing front license plate. Tensing reported that he had to shoot DuBose because he had attempted to drive away, and the officer feared he would be dragged or run over by the car. Body cam video from the incident shows DuBose turning on the car's ignition, after which Tensing fired one bullet into the man's head. After the fatal shot was fired, DuBose's body slumped forward and the car accelerated away, knocking the cop to the ground.
Tensing was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. The jury began deliberations this Wednesday, but after 25 hours were not able to come to a unanimous decision. On Saturday, Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan declared a mistrial. Prosecutor Joe Deters said that the jury was leaning towards a conviction on the manslaughter charge and an acquittal on the murder charge, but were unable to unanimously decide.
Witnesses in the case testified that Tensing's supervisors at the UC Police Department allowed him to wait two days to collect his thoughts before officially explaining the incident. The cop was also allowed to review the body camera footage before speaking to investigators. Neither of these courtesies would have been extended to an ordinary citizen charged with murder, and were only allowed because Tensing was a police officer.
The prosecution showed evidence that 80% of the drivers that Tensing pulled over for traffic stops were black, and that he was wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag on it underneath his uniform at the time of the shooting. Defense attorney Stewart Mathews said that the former cop was “in sheer terror” and fired only to save himself from being run over by the car. “The video is the ultimate witness,” Deters countered. “This video exposes Tensing’s lies.”
Following the mistrial, Deters said that he will consider whether or not to retry the case.