As a prosecutor in Cincinnati’s Hamilton County decides whether to pursue a third trial of a white former university police officer accused of killing an unarmed black motorist, he will study the deadlocked jury’s votes, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. Former Officer Ray Tensing, who was tried twice on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges as a result of a traffic stop, said he fired in self-defense because driver Sam DuBose’s car was dragging him. Tensing pulled DuBose over because of a missing front license plate.
Juries last Friday and in November could not reach a verdict. After viewing body-camera footage from the then-25-year-old Tensing in the July 2015 shooting, grand jurors indicted Tensing, and he was fired from his campus police job. “We are almost evenly split regarding our final votes,” the jury foreman told Judge Leslie Ghiz on Friday. Tensing’s lawyer, Stew Mathews, was told that the jury voted 8 to 4 to acquit on murder and 7 to 5 to acquit on voluntary manslaughter. Mathews yesterday asked Ghiz to acquit Tensing because of the two mistrials. The jury’s vote on the manslaughter count was nearly the opposite of how jurors in the first trial last year are believed to have voted. Prosecutors won’t decide until the week of July 10 whether to pursue the case a third time. They could also seek a lesser charge of reckless homicide.