A former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot an unarmed motorist in 2015 will be retried in May 2017.
Ray Tensing fatally shot Sam DuBose, a black man, in the head during a traffic stop for a missing license plate. Tensing, who is white, testified that he pulled the trigger because he was afraid of being run over and killed by the car.
The first trial ended in a mistrial on Nov. 12, WLWT5 reported. The jury, which included two black and 10 white jurors, could not reach a verdict after 25 hours of deliberation, according to the Associated Press.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that questionnaires showed four jurors believed certain races or groups were more violent than others. Another juror, who has an uncle and friend who are police officers, said police “should be given the benefit of the doubt.”
“I think many jurors see police officers as the living embodiment of the law and with great deference,” said Hank Fradella, associate director and professor at Arizona State University’s School of Criminology. “But the law itself gives police officers the benefit of the doubt.”
Tensing was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter after the July 2015 shooting. Prosecutors plan to retry him on both counts.
Judge Leslie Ghiz will oversee the new trial after two other judges recused themselves from the case, which is scheduled for May 25.
This is the second mistrial in a month in a case where police fatally shot a black man. A judge declared a mistrial in the case of officer Michael Slager, who shot Walter Scott in Charleston, South Carolina on Dec. 5.
“I think the bigger question is when you have law enforcement officer that says ‘I felt my life was in danger,’ getting a conviction for anything to do with a law enforcement’s use of force is a real uphill battle because the law defers to the police officer’s judgement,” said Fradella.
Tensing’s retrial will take place in the Cincinnati Hamilton County Court, despite the prosecutor’s request to move it to another county.
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