Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing appeared in court on for the first time on Thursday to be arraigned on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Tensing was indicted Wednesday in the shooting of Sam DuBose near the college campus during a traffic stop. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and his bail was set at $1 million. Body camera video showing the traffic stop and shooting was released on Wednesday after Tensing was indicted.
Tensing turned himself on Wednesday in to face the charges.
DuBose, 43, was killed on July 19 after Tensing stopped him for not having a front license plate. Tensing, 25, claimed his life was in danger and he was dragged by DuBose’s car, but the video showed that was not the case.
Tensing, who is also a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, appeared in court dressed in a black-and-white-striped jail uniform and with his hands cuffed behind his back. He was fired by the university on Wednesday after the indictment was returned. Judge Megan E. Shanahan asked Tensing if he understood the charges and he replied, “Yes your honor,” his only words of the brief appearance. His attorney entered his plea of not guilty.
Tensing’s attorney, Stewart Mathews, argued for a lower bond based on his client’s previously clean record, former employment with the police department and college degree. Mathews said the purpose of bond is to guarantee a person will appear in court, and argued that there is no doubt that Tensing will do that.
He asked for a low bond, but said to the judge, “I know you won’t do that.”
The prosecution said they have never asked for less than $1 million bond on a murder case, and also argued for that in this case. Shanahan agreed.
“The defendant is facing the possibility of life in prison,” Shanahan said. “It’s the court’s duty to ensure his appearance. The bond will be $1 million anyway.”
The crowd of DuBose supporters in the courtroom cheered when Tensing’s bail was set at the high amount, leading to an admonishment from Shanahan.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Shanahan shouted over applause. “You will conduct yourselves at all times appropriately.”
Tensing’s attorney said he expected an indictment because of the “political climate.” He said the murder charge was “absolutely unwarranted,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“Murder is the purposeful killing of another,” Mathews told the newspaper. “There wasn’t any purpose to kill this fella.”
Mathews said Tensing feared for his life. He claimed, “‘I thought I was going to get sucked under the car and run over,'” Mathews said.
“With the political climate in this country with white police officers shooting black individuals, I think they need somebody to make an example of,” Mathews told the Associated Press.
Tensing is scheduled to appear in court next on August 19 at 9 a.m. He is being held at the Hamilton County Jail.