Prosecutor weighs next move in fatal officer-involved shooting

Butler County activists call for continued calm.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office said it is simple what will happen next in the case of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murdering an unarmed black motorist in July.

The case, which ended in a mistrial Saturday, will either be retried, dropped or Ray Tensing, the former police officer, could be indicted on lesser charges in the death of Samuel Dubose, according to the office of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters.

“There is no new blanket statement about the case but the new hearing date in front of Judge Megan Shanahan is when a decision will be made on whether or not to retry the case,” a spokeswoman for Deters’ office said.

Deter is expected to report to the judge at a hearing on Nov. 28.

Tensing was indicted on charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Dubose on July 19, 2015.

A jury of 10 whites and two blacks deadlocked 8-4 on the lesser charge. The jury was leaning toward an acquittal on the murder charge, Deters said Saturday.

“Obviously, we are hoping that he (the prosecutor) will decide that a retrial would be fruitless,” Tensing’s attorney Stewart Mathews said Monday.

Tensing, 26, was fired from his post after shooting Dubose, 43, in the head after pulling him over for a missing license plate according to Deters.

Following the mistrial, local community leaders are calling on the community to remain calm as the case continues through the legal system.

Pastor Shaquila Mathews of Hamilton, a vocal community activist for peace said she is hoping the community and police can find a way to keep healing during the legal process. She is also hopeful that the families of all involved can find the support needed to heal.

“For me it was another blow and unfortunately not a surprise. I feel for the family and the lack of trust they have in the justice system,” Mathews said. “This can not continue to happen and justice not being served. People are losing their lives and no consequences to there actions and being that police and community relationship is so important, incidents like this sets us back and stops forward movement. I pray we can have these conversations as a community and really see change. How many will die before justice is served?”

Dr. Rodney D. Coates, director of the black world studies program at Miami University, said feels that the justice system can work in ways people aren’t seeing.

“Part of the problem we have to look at is the fact that only two people can answer exactly what took place, everything else is from different camera angles,” Coates explained. “We don’t know what caused that reasonable doubt with the jury as they deliberated. Having said that, I think another trial is in order. I also think the fact that the University of Cincinnati settled a civil lawsuit is very important to consider.”

The University of Cincinnati’s settlement with Dubose’s family includes tuition for his 12 children, $4.85 million, an on-campus memorial, reforms in the police department and an apology from the university.

S. Gregory Baker, director of police community relations for UC, told the Journal-News in a statement that the university has been working to maintain, repair and improve the relationships with the African American community and community at-large following Dubose’s murder.

“Over the past 15 months we have held numerous community meetings, forums and gatherings to listen to members of the university and Cincinnati communities and identify areas of needed change,” Baker said. “Progress has been made, but we recognize that more work must be done to reset or establish new relationships and rebuild trust to develop a foundation for lasting change.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

About the Author