City Council to Deters: Retry Ray Tensing for killing Sam DuBose

CINCINNATI -- The City Council Wednesday urged Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters to retry former University of Cincinnati Police officer Ray Tensing for his involvement in the death of Sam DuBose.

The Council unanimously passed a resolution telling Deters to "to take all steps necessary to pursue a retrial" in Tensing’s case. Tensing’s first trial ended Saturday with a hung jury. After 25 hours of deliberation, four jurors were ready to convict Tensing of murder,  four were ready to convict him of voluntary manslaughter, and four were ready to find him not guilty, Deters' office said Wednesday. The jury could not reach a unanimous agreement.

Deters must decide whether to retry the case by Nov. 28, although some groups have pressed him to make a decision sooner.

"We seek justice whether Mr. Tensing is guilty or not," said council member Wendell Young, who co-sponsored the resolution with fellow council member Yvette Simpson. "Urging the prosecutor to retry this case is simply our way of saying there must be justice, there must be a decision, and we cannot allow this matter to just languish."

Tensing shot and killed Sam DuBose, an unarmed black motorist, during a traffic stop July 19, 2015, and the case quickly became a touchstone for movements like Black Lives Matter that have worked to draw public attention to what they believe are instances of racially biased policing.

"I think this is an important case for our community, and because of it, I think a retrial is warranted," Simpson said.

Council member Chris Seelbach compared the Tensing case to the legal battles of former juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter.

"(It's hard to believe) the fact that the same court system would retry a judge for potentially mishandling paperwork has questions about whether it will retry a police officer for killing an unarmed black man," he said. "I'm not sure why we're even waiting to make that decision."

Council member Kevin Flynn said he had initially hesitated to support the resolution, but felt he could do so as long as the city understood that it was merely an expression of the Council's wishes, not an order.

"We're not trying to usurp the authority of the prosecutor," Flynn said.

Deters himself has not indicated that he will arrive at a decision before the Nov. 28 deadline, but did say he would push for a retrial if he believed he could win.

Click here for complete coverage of the Ray Tensing murder trial. 

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