A judge declared a mistrial Saturday in the case against a former Cincinnati University campus police officer in the July 2015 shooting death of an unarmed black man. After 25 hours of deliberations, jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict in the case centering around Ray Tensing, who was indicted on counts of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of Samuel DuBose.
Tensing’s killing of 43-year-old Sam DuBose, caught on video via Tensing’s body camera, occurred during a traffic stop related to DuBose’s missing front license plate. Tensing, a white 26-year-old man, claimed he had been dragged by DuBose’s car, but witness testimony, physical evidence and the body camera footage captured all said otherwise, prosecutors said. Lawyers for Tensing, by contrast, accused the prosecution of using allegations of racial discrimination as “a smoke screen” in the case. Tensing, who claimed he fatally shot DeBose because he feared for his life, faced up to 15 years in prison.
The jury, 10 members of which were white and two of which were black, failed to reach a unanimous verdict between noon Wednesday and Friday morning — a day the Cincinnati court normally would not be in session, on account of it being Veterans Day. Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan declared the mistrial Saturday just after 10 a.m. Prosecutors must now decide whether to retry the case or dismiss it, while Tensing will remain free on $1 million bond.
DuBose’s family members expressed their frustrations amid the further delay Friday.
“It’s hurting my heart because I truly feel that the longer they take, the more innocent they’re trying to prove him [Tensing],” Raegan Brooks, DuBose’s daughter, told local broadcaster WCPO. “It’s hurting not only me but my entire family.”
DuBose’s fiancée said she was staying strong for the sake of her children but told WCPO that “a lot of people in that [court]room are apparently blind to justice” in an on-camera interview outside the courtroom late Friday morning.
“The video didn’t lie, the evidence didn’t lie. It was overwhelming,” DaShonda Reid, who has had four children with DuBose, told WCPO reporter Rose-Ann Aragon. “We shouldn’t be out here this long.”
While data shows that the sheer number of white people shot dead by police is larger than the tally for African-Americans, adjusting for population reveals black people to be 2.5 times as likely as whites to be killed in a police shooting, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from January 2015 to July of this year.