Ray Tensing supporters cancel first public rally Monday night, cite 'threats for violence'

DuBose supporters take over bridge instead

CINCINNATI -- Ray Tensing supporters cited "ongoing threats for violence and personal attacks" in canceling their first public demonstration Monday night. Hundreds of Sam DuBose supporters demonstrated in their place on the Purple People Bridge.

The group "Support Ray Tensing" announced the cancelation on its Facebook page, but its members vowed to try again.

"This decision was made with the safety of our law enforcement personnel being of the highest priority as well as families who frequent the Sawyer Point area," the cancelation post said.

"We hope eventually everyone can realize violence is not the answer. This does not change our stance on Officer Ray Tensing.

"Thank you to all of Ray Tensing supporters, as we celebrate yet another victory with the dismissal of the murder and voluntary manslaughter charges. More planning will take place in private later this week. We are not finished. We will celebrate the dismissal as our victory for today."

Cincinnati Police Sgt. Eric Franz and the Newport Police Departments records office told WCPO they received no reports of threats linked to Tensing demonstrators in the days before and after the canceled event. However, it is possible threats were made and not reported to police.

The group had planned to meet for a prayer walk and vigil at 6 p.m. at Sawyer Point. Attendees were going to walk over the Purple People Bridge, according to the event's Facebook page. The Tensing event page also said T-shirts would be available for sale "to support Tensing."

But DuBose supporters ended up taking over the bridge while only a handful of Tensing supporters walked in silence.

Tensing was aware of the rally but  was not planning to attend, his attorney said Monday morning after Judge Leslie Ghiz held a court hearing to formally dismiss charges against the former University of Cincinnati police officer. 

Speaking for himself, attorney Stew Mathews said he would just as soon put everything behind them.

“I think it's great that there are supporters of Ray. We are not a part of that. We had nothing to do with organizing that,” Mathews said. “I guess if I had my druthers, we'd just be done with it right now in this courtroom and that would be the end of it.”

Tensing shot and killed DuBose, a black motorist, during a traffic stop on July 19, 2015. Two trials have ended in hung juries and mistrials.

Before the cancelation, a brother of Sam DuBose called plans for a Tensing rally "immature."

"In this kind of arena, when you win, you shouldn't have to gloat," Aubrey DuBose said.  "So, I feel like it's kind of immature for them to do this.  The guy's gone.  He's going to walk.  So, you shouldn't have to do this.  It's kind of like they're trying to snub us or something."

"Support Ray Tensing" was started by Lacy Robinson of Hamilton. Robinson began by creating a Change.org petition asking Deters to drop the case. After Deters decided against a third trial, the petition was converted to request no civil rights charges be brought against Tensing by the Justice Department. The petition has nearly 6,000 signatures.

"Please sign in order to stand up for our law enforcement officers & for JUSTICE! All lives matter," the petition says. "This was not about race. The judicial system has worked, now THREE times in this case, as the decision was made to not retry the innocent police officer."

"Support Ray Tensing" hasn't hosted any public rallies or demonstrations yet. Black Lives Matter and Countdown to Coalition have held various rallies since the second trial's conclusion.

Groups calling for justice for DuBose rallied Downtown Saturday.

All rallies and marches have been peaceful with no arrests.

For complete trial coverage, visit wcpo.com/TensingTrial.

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