June 23 (UPI) — Prosecutors in Cincinnati are facing the prospect of a possible third trial of former police officer Ray Tensing, who for the second time didn’t receive a conviction or an acquittal Friday in the controversial shooting death of a motorist two years ago.
Jurors told Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz Friday that they were split on whether to convict Tensing in the death of Sam DuBose, who was shot dead during a traffic stop in in Cincinnati in July 2015.
Tensing, whose first trial also ended in a deadlocked jury in November, had been facing prison on either a murder or voluntary manslaughter charge. Jurors told Ghiz, however, that they could not reach a unanimous verdict.
“We are almost evenly split regarding our votes,” the jurors wrote to the judge.
The panel, nine women and three men, deliberated the case for about 30 hours over five days. Earlier Friday, Ghiz instructed the jury to return to deliberations after they informed her of the impasse.
Tensing, a former officer in the University of Cincinnati Police Department, shot DuBose on July 19, 2015, after a traffic stop turned confrontational. After DuBose was stopped, he attempted to drive away when Tensing asked whether he had a valid driver’s license. The entire incident was recorded on Tensing’s body camera.
The shooting generated substantial community backlash, with critics arguing that the shooting was racially motivated. DuBose, 43, was black and Tensing is white.
Tensing, 27, has claimed that he feared for his safety when DuBose tried to drive off — when the officer’s arm was caught inside the vehicle. Prosecutors, though, have argued that Tensing had not been in serious danger and that the use of deadly force was unnecessary.
“God’s will is sufficient,” Audrey DuBose, the victim’s mother, said as she left the courthouse Friday.
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters now must decide whether to try Tensing a third time. It’s unclear whether he will pursue further legal action against the former UC officer, particularly in light of other similar high-profile prosecutions recently that have failed to convict police officers.
“It shows our legal system has no value for African-American human rights,” civil rights attorney Donyetta Bailey, president of the Black Lawyer’s Association of Cincinnati, said. “It’s a tragedy where we could be in a situation where police are murdering people unjustifiably — and we can’t get a jury to uphold the law and apply it to clear facts.”