Ex-Ohio Police Officer's Trial in Fatal Shooting Ends in Mistrial


A mistrial has been declared in the case of a white OH police officer who was accused of shooting an unarmed black man.

Ray Tensing reacts as Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz declares a mistrial in the retrial of Tensing on June 23, 2017 in Cincinnati.

A jury delivered a not guilty verdict in the manslaughter trial of Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop July 6 in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights. The first round also ended in a mistrial previous year with a jury unable to come to a unanimous verdict after deliberating for more than 20 hours.

In his first trial, jurors were evenly split: Four jurors thought Tensing was guilty of murder, four thought he was guilty of voluntary manslaughter and four thought Tensing was not guilty, according to Prosecutor Joe Deters. Tensing then told DuBose to remove his seatbelt, then the officer attempted to open the vehicle door. Tensing said he feared for his life when DuBose tried to drive away from a traffic stop over a missing front license plate.

Ghiz told the jurors, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to send you back for a little while longer", before then reading a charge encouraging them to reconsider their positions and listen to one another as they deliberated. Family members of DuBose called for a third trial.

Five days earlier, former Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of fatally shooting Philando Castile during a traffic stop past year that was partially streamed online.

"I meant to stop the threat", he told jurors last week.

Their exchange lasts less than two minutes and was captured on body camera video.

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Samuel Dubose was killed after being initially stopped for driving without a front license plate. His first trial had 10 white people and two black people.

Prosecutors said repeatedly the evidence contradicted Tensing's story.

Tensing's first trial ended in a hung jury in November, 2016. The university police fired him after he was charged.

Taylor said this deadlocked jury, combined with the acquittal of police officers in Milwaukee and Minneapolis in similar cases this week, demonstrates institutional racism in the justice system.

But prosecutors said a review of police body camera footage showed Tensing was not in danger during the July 2015 incident involving the unarmed motorist. The university reached a $5.3 million settlement with DuBose's family, including free undergraduate tuition for DuBose's 13 children.

Why do so few trials of police officers charged in on-duty shootings end in convictions? Tensing was in tears during both trials as he testified he feared he could be dragged or run over by the auto.

The University of Cincinnati fired Tensing a year ago after his indictment.

Tieger agreed with defense attorneys that DuBose did not comply with Tensing's commands but said that wasn't justification to shoot.