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Judge Declares Mistrial, Again, In Cincinnati Police Shooting Case

Ray Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer, testifying on the seventh day of his retrial in Hamilton County Common Pleas earlier this month at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Cincinnati.
Cara Owsley

A judge has declared a mistrial in the murder and manslaughter case against former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing over his fatal shooting of black motorist Sam DuBose.

This is the second time the case has ended in a mistrial — the jury was deadlocked in the first trial, which ended last November.

"Jurors sent a note to the judge Friday morning saying they were hopelessly deadlocked after about 27 hours of deliberating," member station WVXU reported. "She sent them back to the discussion table."

But then later Friday, jurors returned to say they were still unable to find consensus, after nearly 31 hours of deliberations.

The fatal traffic stop happened in July 2015, when Tensing, who is white, pulled DuBose over to ask him about a missing front license plate.

Their exchange lasts less than two minutes and was captured on body camera video. Tensing repeatedly asks DuBose for his driver's license. DuBose stresses that he does have a license and appears to search the car for it and his pockets before finally stating, "I don't think I have it on me."

According to the video, DuBose tells the officer that he is going to go home, "right around the corner." The next events happen very quickly. Tensing asks him to take his seatbelt off, and then duBose turns the car on. The car begins to roll forward, and Tensing engages in a very brief struggle with DuBose before firing his pistol into the car.

As we have reported, Tensing's bullet hit DuBose in the head, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Tensing maintains he feared for his life as DuBose's car began to drive away. Tensing pulled his weapon and fired to avoid, he said, being dragged under DuBose's car," WVXU reported.

However, the member station adds that prosecutors "argued Tensing was in no imminent danger but rather forgot his training and reacted in an unreasonable manner," and "a forensic video expert analyzed Tensing's body camera footage and testified the car didn't begin moving until .178 seconds (less than a second) before Tensing fired the fatal shot."

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Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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