U.S. News

Second mistrial declared in killing of black man by ex-Cincinnati cop

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - For the second time, a mistrial was declared in the murder trial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop.

Officer Ray Tensing shot once, hitting 43-year-old Samuel DuBose in the head after stopping him for a missing front license plate on his car in July 2015, a body camera worn by Tensing showed.

Tensing, 27, was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in a retrial of the case. A mistrial was declared last November after jurors could not agree on a verdict. Tensing has said in both trials that he feared for his life during the traffic stop.

DuBose’s shooting added to the debate in the United States over the use of excessive force by police, especially against minorities.

The mistrial was called one week after a police officer in Minnesota was acquitted of killing a black motorist and two days after a former Milwaukee cop was found not guilty of reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of a black man during a foot chase.

“At this time, this court is in a position and will have to, as a result of the jury being unable to reach a verdict, declare a mistrial in this case,” Judge Leslie Ghiz said after jurors at the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati said they were hopelessly deadlocked for a second time Friday.

Friday’s mistrial came after more than 30 hours of deliberations, which started on Monday.

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Audrey DuBose, Samuel DuBose’s mother, demanded a retrial immediately after the mistrial was declared and called for peaceful protest of what she called “this unjust result.”

“We are outraged that a second jury has now failed to convict Ray Tensing,” she said in a statement. “We demand another retrial.”

Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Deters would not comment until early next week, a spokeswoman said. Stew Mathews, Tensing’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“As I have said many times before, I do not believe that Sam DuBose should have been killed in that situation,” Mayor John Cranley told reporters.

Tensing has been free on a $1 million bond. The university police fired him after he was charged.

During the traffic stop, Tensing asked DuBose to remove his seat belt and tried to open the car door. DuBose did not comply and closed the door. The vehicle started slowly rolling forward with Tensing’s arm pinned against the steering wheel, his lawyer said. Tensing pulled his gun and fired once.

In the latest trial, prosecutors said Tensing ignored his training when he reached into the car, and that he was never in danger.

Additional reporting and writing by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Bernard Orr