News

Actions

Tensing, Trump protests converge Downtown

Hundreds rally for retrial in Ray Tensing case
Hundreds rally for retrial in Ray Tensing case
Hundreds rally for retrial in Ray Tensing case
Hundreds rally for retrial in Ray Tensing case
Posted at 1:31 PM, Nov 12, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Hundreds were there because a jury didn't convict Ray Tensing. Others were upset Donald Trump will be their next president.

All of them, black and white, old and young, ended up at the bandstand in Washington Park, united, they said, in their demands for justice and equality.

Ray Tensing enters the courtroom Saturday. Photo by Cara Owsley/Pool

"Today, Cincinnati told us that a racist cop can murder, shoot a black man in the head with a Confederate flag under his uniform and walk free," said Ashley Harrington, a member of the Black Lives Matter Cincinnati steering committee.

The group organized hundreds on the plaza outside the Hamilton County Courthouse after jurors deadlocked for four days on the murder and voluntary manslaughter charges against Tensing, a former University of Cincinnati police officer. Judge Megan Shanahan declared a mistrial in the case Saturday morning; jurors had deliberated for 25 hours but couldn't reach a unanimous verdict.

Tensing has said he feared for his life when he shot unarmed black motorist Sam DuBose in the head during a traffic stop in July 2015. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said four jurors thought Tensing was guilty of murder and eight thought he was guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He said he'll determine by Nov. 28 whether to pursue a retrial. If he does, the case may end up costing $1 million, he estimated.

MUST READ: How Deters will make that decision

Harrington told the crowd of hundreds that they needed to keep up pressure to get a conviction in the case.

"You cannot just get mad day-of and then give up," she said. "We are not calling for peace, we are calling for a conviction, but you do that as a disciplined group."

The group marched through Downtown, and while generally peaceful, there was some friction: At one point, the crowd blocked Main Street at Court Street. Police officers lined up next to the sidewalk, trying to keep them out of the road.

Brian Taylor, a Black Lives Matter Cincinnati organizer, called the officers "pigs" and warned them the crowd would be taking to the streets, whether the Cincinnati Police Department liked it or not.

"Nothing was happening that would require them to be where they are," Taylor said. "And I guarantee you, they better move aside when we set in motion."

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said he, too, was disappointed with the mistrial and was focused on keeping demonstrators safe.

As the group marched through Downtown, it merged with another group protesting the coming presidency of Republican Donald Trump. The protesters accused Trump of being racist, and said his policies would harm members of the LGBTQ community and other people who are minorities.

PHOTOSAnti-Trump demonstrators march downtown

April Stephens, a demonstrator, said she participated because she felt like she needed to take a stand.

“I’m happy to see our people from the city of Cincinnati come together in a peaceful march,” Stephens said.

Jose Cristales also took part in Saturday’s demonstration.

“It was the most beautiful feeling I’ve had,” Cristales said. “It was just a feeling of unity.”

Along Ninth Street, past Cincinnati City Hall, a group of police officers blocked the crowd from pressing farther west than Central Avenue. From there, they turned north toward Cincinnati Police District One headquarters, eventually converging at Washington Park.

Demonstrators march near Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine after Judge Megan Shanahan declared a mistrial in Ray Tensing's murder case. Photo by T.J. Parker | WCPO

"We will continue fighting until Tensing is in jail. We will continue fighting until all cops who murder black people are in jail," Harrington said. "We will keep, keep, keep taking to our streets."

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley acknowledged many people, himself included, hoped jurors would reach a verdict in the case against Tensing. He said he hoped Deters would retry the case.

"Candidly, there's a lot of reasons for people to be upset," Cranley said.

Isaac said the Cincinnati Police Department had extra officers on hand for Saturday's demonstrations.

"We understand that this is an emotional situation," City Manager Harry Black said. "People will need to be able to express those emotions."

Darryl Miller, a man who is homeless, was the only arrest reported during the day's events. According to a criminal complaint, he and four other people, whose identities police don't know, damaged a car. Miller was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Streetcar service came to a halt as it made way for the marchers; the system began carrying passengers again by about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

See WCPO's complete coverage at WCPO.com/TensingTrial.