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Jury deadlocks in Ohio police officer’s murder case retrial

Ray Tensing, left, waits for his retrial to resume Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the Hamilton County C
Ray Tensing, left, waits for his retrial to resume June 15 at the Hamilton County Courthouse.
(Associated Press)

An Ohio judge declared a mistrial Friday in the hearing of former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing, who in 2015 shot and killed Samuel DuBose, an incident that was captured on body camera video and ignited increased debate over police interactions with African Americans.

The mistrial, which came after five days of jury deliberations, left Tensing in tears and for now ended nearly two years of anticipation in the case.

In November, a previous court hearing also ended in a mistrial after jurors said they were deadlocked. Prosecutors said they’ll announce a decision next week as to whether they will try Tensing a third time.

In body-camera video from July 2015, DuBose, who is black, is repeatedly asked by Tensing for his driver’s license during a traffic stop. DuBose does not produce it.

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Tensing asks DuBose to unbuckle his seat belt, and the officer pulls on the door handle. But DuBose, with the window down, puts his hand on the door to keep it closed. Suddenly a gunshot is heard, and DuBose, 43, appears to be slumped to his right. The car rolls away, coming to stop at a nearby corner.

At the time, Tensing said he was dragged by the car and forced to shoot at DuBose.

Shortly after the shooting, Tensing was indicted on a murder charge and fired from the University of Cincinnati police department. Officials in Cincinnati released the body camera video not long after the shooting.

Following the shooting, the University of Cincinnati restructured its public safety department and made other policing reforms. The university reached a $5.3-million settlement with DuBose’s family, including free undergraduate tuition for his children.

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The ruling on Friday was the latest in a series of high-profile trials of police officers who have gunned down black men.

On Wednesday, a Milwaukee jury said an officer was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop last August. Smith had a gun when he ran, but the case hinged on whether he was a threat when Dominique Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.

Body-camera video showed Heaggan-Brown shooting Smith once in the arm as he appeared to be throwing the gun over a fence. The video showed the second shot — 1.69 seconds later — hit Smith in the chest as he lay on the ground. Heaggan-Brown was fired from the department.

Earlier this month, a jury found a 29-year-old Minnesota police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, not guilty in the fatal shooting of black motorist Philando Castile during a traffic stop near St. Paul.

Castile’s death last July garnered national attention when Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, began broadcasting on Facebook Live shortly after he was shot. The video quickly went viral and prompted days-long demonstrations in Minnesota.

In May, a white Oklahoma police officer, who says she fired out of fear last year when she killed an unarmed black man with his hands held above his head, was acquitted of first-degree manslaughter charges.

kurtis.lee@latimes.com

Twitter: @kurtisalee

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UPDATES:

1:55 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details, and new information from the district attorney that a decision on whether to try the police officer for a third time will be announced next week.

This article was originally published at 11:40 a.m.


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