The jury in the murder trial of a university police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man has not been able to reach a verdict.
University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing – who was wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt under his uniform during the shooting – was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of Samuel Debose, but the jury needed to pick only one charge. In the end, the jury was hung, said WLWT-TV.
Because the jury was hung, the judge declared a mistrial on November 12.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tensing Shot DeBose in the Head During a Traffic Stop
Tensing shot and killed DeBose in 2015 during a traffic stop. The jury was asked to decide whether Tensing had a reasonable belief his life was in danger when he shot, which would have given him the right to legally use lethal force.
During the trial, the defense argued that Tensing “thought he was being dragged by DuBose’s vehicle at the time he fired the shot,” said LawNewz.
The prosecutor argued otherwise; he said “Mr. Tensing was not dragged” and argued the physical evidence showed Tensing only “ran along the car a short distance, stumbled and fell,” according to LawNewz.
DuBose was unarmed, said The Chicago Tribune.
2. Body Camera Footage Was Released in the Case
Body camera footage of the shooting had inflamed tensions. The video starts with the officer and DuBose having a calm conversation after Tensing pulled him over. Tensing then repeatedly asks DuBose whether he has a license on him. The officer then reaches suddenly into the car window, shouts “Stop! Stop!” and shoots DuBose in the head. (Warning: Graphic content.)
The police report mentioned a struggle that DuBose’s family argued was contradicted by the body camera video.
A prosecution expert testified that the body camera footage contradicted Tensing’s story that he was dragged by the car, said The Chicago Tribune. The officer was fired after the shooting, the newspaper said.
3. Tensing Was Wearing a Confederate Flag T-Shirt When He Killed DuBose
The revelation that Tensing was wearing a T-shirt with a confederate flag on it when he killed DuBose upset DuBose’s family.
DuBose’s sister and mother told WCPO-TV that the T-shirt convinced them that Tensing was “evil” to his core.
The officer was wearing the shirt under his uniform, said WCPO. The shirt was introduced as evidence during the trial.
4. Tensing Testified That He Thought DuBose Was Going to Run Him Over
According to CNN, Tensing, who was 25 when the shooting occurred, took the witness stand in his own defense.
He testified that “he had reached into the car to try to grab the car keys from the ignition but DuBose started the car and began to drive away,” catching Tensing’s arm and causing him to begin to fall, said CNN.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my God, he’s going to run me over and he’s going to kill me,'” CNN said Tensing testified on the stand.
Prosecutors countered that video showed Tensing standing and the car accelerating after he shot DuBose, said CNN.
5. A Prosecutor Described the Shooting as an ‘Asinine Act’ & DuBose’s Family Said He Was Frail & Sick
Prosecutor Joseph Deters described the shooting as “the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make” and said Tensing “should never have been a police officer.”
DuBose’s family said he was suffering from an illness and was too frail and sick to put up much of a struggle. He had no violent criminal history.