After a short trial and nearly 25 hours of deliberating, jurors failed to come to a decision on the fate of Ray Tensing, the former University of Cinnicinati officer who fatally shot an unarmed man during a traffic stop last year.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan declared the case a mistrial on Saturday (Nov 12) after the jury was deadlocked, NBC News reports. Tensing was facing a voluntary manslaughter charge for the shooting–a 15-year prison sentence. The jury of 10 white and two black jurors were left to decide if Tensing’s actions were justified during his encounter with the 43-year-old father.
The shooting happened July 2015 when Tensing pulled over DuBose for a missing license plate in the front of his car. Body camera footage showed DuBose tried to drive away during their short encounter, with Tensing firing a bullet into the car. Dubose was struck in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. Prosecutors pointed out Tensing lied about the events of the shooting. Tensing repeatedly claimed he was dragged by the car with his defense labeling the car as a “weapon” giving Tensing a reason to use his gun.
Despite a use-of-force expert testifying that DuBose wasn’t a threat and the video evidence, it wasn’t enough for the jury to make a decision. The defense claimed prosecutors used race as a “smokescreen” by pointing out the Confederate flag tee that Tensing was wearing under his uniform and the fact that the former cop pulled over more people of color than whites that year.
Tensing will remain free on a $1 million bond while prosecutors decide if they will retry the case.