Judge in murder trial of Cincinnati officer urges jurors to keep deliberating despite deadlock

The jurors said they couldn't come to a unanimous verdict on murder or voluntary manslaughter charges against now-fired Officer Ray Tensing.

By: AP | Cincinnati | Published:November 12, 2016 12:24 am
Cincinnati police officer, police officer murder trial, police brutality in America, racial tensions in America, US news, world news, latest news, indian express Ray Tensing leaves court on the third day of jury deliberations in his murder trial in Cincinnati. The former University of Cincinnati police officer is charged with murdering Sam DuBose while on duty during a routine traffic stop on July 19, 2015. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Jurors on Friday told a judge they can’t reach a decision after three days of deliberations in the murder trial of a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. The judge told them to keep deliberating. The jurors said they couldn’t come to a unanimous verdict on murder or voluntary manslaughter charges against now-fired Officer Ray Tensing, who killed 43-year-old motorist Sam DuBose near the University of Cincinnati in July 2015.

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Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan said they have enough evidence for a decision and advised them to keep working. She didn’t grant a request by Tensing’s attorney to declare a mistrial.

Jurors got the case at noontime Wednesday.

The judge sequestered the jury of 10 whites and two blacks for a second night Thursday and brought them back for deliberations Friday. The courthouse would otherwise be closed for the Veterans Day holiday.

Shanahan said jurors requested to review testimony by experts on police use of deadly force. Ray Tensing, 26, has said he feared for his life when Sam DuBose dragged him with his car while trying to drive away.

Authorities, downtown businesses and schools have been monitoring developments closely. Some businesses released employees early Thursday and at least two schools closed in anticipation of a verdict that could bring strong reactions.

Police and emergency response agencies activated their regional operations center to monitor and share information about any violence. Before the trial began, city officials met with civil rights and faith leaders. The city was hit by riots in 2001 after a fatal police shooting of an unarmed black youth.

This case has attracted demonstrators, including Black Lives Matter activists, outside the Hamilton County courthouse, and is among other shootings across the country that have raised debate about how police treat black people.

Prosecutors want jurors to find that Tensing “purposely” killed DuBose for the murder charge. They also have the option of convicting Tensing of voluntary manslaughter, meaning he killed DuBose in a fit of rage or sudden passion after being provoked.

The prosecution said evidence including Tensing’s own body camera video contradicted his story of being dragged by DuBose’s car.

Tensing testified he didn’t target black drivers, wasn’t racist and that a Confederate flag on a T-shirt he wore under his uniform that day had no meaning to him.

Witnesses testified that DuBose had significant amounts of marijuana and cash on him, which Tensing’s attorney described as a reason why he was desperate to flee.