Deters: 2 black men 'didn't want to' serve on Tensing trial jury

Posted at 12:55 PM, Nov 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-12 23:03:41-05

CINCINNATI -- After a judge ordered a mistrial in the Ray Tensing trial Saturday, some were asking why there were no African-American men on the jury for the trial of a white ex-police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man.

It turns out, the two black men who had the opportunity to serve on the jury didn't want to, Prosecutor Joe Deters said.

"They just said they didn't want to do it," Deters said. "It was going to cause too much trouble in their lives. And they left."

The jury was made up of two black women, four white women and six white men. There were also four alternates who were all white women (one of them left mid-trial).

"It's a random selection of registered voters," Deters said. "(Two African-American men) were picked. They were in the box, and they said they didn't want to do it. I don't know how you can blame the system for that. If they don't want to do it, they don't want to do it."

Stew Mathews, Tensing's defense attorney, said he didn't challenge any potential jurors based on their race.

"I could have had a totally white jury, but that's not my style and that's not reflective of the community,” Mathews said.

He said he didn't expect their race would affect their judgment.

"I would have liked to think they would have listened to the facts and the testimony and decided the case on that basis, and race should not have anything to do with it," Mathews said.