CINCINNATI - Two University of Cincinnati police officers have testified against their former colleague and another is expected on the stand Friday in the Ray Tensing retrial.
Officer David Lindenschmidt, one of two officers who quickly responded to back up Tensing at his fatal traffic stop in 2015, is scheduled to answer questions about what he heard and saw when Tensing shot and killed motorist Sam DuBose on Rice Street in Mount Auburn.
The only other known person who claims to have been at the shooting scene, Alicia Napier, may also testify Friday.
At issue is Tensing’s claim that he was dragged by DuBose’s car and had reason to fear for his life when he shot DuBose.
Lindenschmidt was an Officer in Training on patrol with Officer Phillip Kidd that July 19. They drove up moments before the shooting about 6:30 p.m.
At the scene, Tensing repeatedly told Kidd that he had been dragged, and Kidd, recorded by his body camera, told Tensing that he saw that happen.
However, Kidd backed off the statement in the first trial last November and again Thursday. Assistant prosecutor Seth Tieger got Kidd to admit he never actually saw Tensing being dragged.
WATCH Kidd's testimony below
“Can you let the jury know why you said you saw that when you didn't see him being dragged?” Tieger asked.
“I saw Mr. Tensing moving with the vehicle and when he said he was dragged, it's certainly a possibility,” Kidd said. "I wasn't going to argue with him."
"You never saw him dragged?" Tieger said.
"Right," said Kidd.
Here's what Kidd testified he did see.
“Mr. Tensing was trying to open the door. It didn't open,” Kidd said. “Officer Tensing quickly reached into the car. Not long after that I heard squealing tires, I saw the vehicle start to move away from the curb, I heard gunshot, the vehicle continued to move away from the curb.”
Defense attorney Stew Mathews claims Tensing was dragged 10 to 15 feet by DuBose’s car, and he asked Kidd if he saw how that happened.
“You do know that he somehow he ended up further south on Rice Street from where he started out with Sam DuBose," Mathews said.
Mathews: "You don't know how he moved?”
Lindenschmidt testified in the first trial that he didn’t see Tensing dragged.
Napier, who lived in her mother-in-law’s house on Rice Street, said in the last trial she was in her car parked in front of DuBose’s car when the shooting occurred. She testified she saw Tensing and DuBose in her rearview mirror and heard the gunshot, but she didn’t see Tensing shoot DuBose.
To the contrary, Napier said she saw Tensing falling backward and initially thought DuBose had shot Tensing.
Two Cincinnati police officers, Sgt. Shannon Heine and Officer Kimberly Horning, might testify Friday. So might DuBose's fiancée, DaShonda Reid. All are on the prosecution's witness list.
The video from Tensing’s body camera was the first thing introduced into evidence Thursday and Tensing often looked away from the screen as it was played.
He didn’t watch himself firing the fatal shot.
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The first witness of the day, UC Lt. Tim Barge, confirmed it was from Tensing's camera and Tensing had complete control of its operation.
WATCH the body camera footage and Barge's testimony below
Under questioning from Mathews, Barge agreed Tensing could have turned the camera off and on anytime if he didn’t want to record his interaction with DuBose.
“If he planned to go out and murder somebody, for instance, it's not likely he would turn it on,” Mathews said.
“That's correct,” replied Barge.
The prosecution argued in opening statements that Tensing murdered DuBose, but the defense said the shooting was justified.
Assistant prosecutor Stacey DeGraffenreid claimed Tensing violated his training and policy by reaching into DuBose's car to turn it off.
WATCH DeGraffenreid's opening statement below
“He didn't use his training and he didn't do the things he should have done, and he will tell us he intentionally shot Mr. DuBose,” said DeGraffenreid.
“After he reached into the car, he will tell you in his statement he was hung, he was trapped, that he couldn't get unhooked. Once you get to see the video and slow it down piece by piece, you'll be able to see that Mr. Tensing was not trapped," she said.
“The evidence in this case will show that this is clearly a murder."
Mathews disputed that.
“Ray Tensing's purpose at that point was not to cause the death of Sam DuBose, was not to hurt Sam DuBose. It was to stop the threat that Sam DuBose that Ray Tensing felt Sam DuBose posed to his life,” Mathews said.
Mathews said DuBose caused the tragic events that led to his death.
WATCH Mathews' opening statement below
"What happened to Sam DuBose was terrible,” said Mathews. “But Sam DuBose, all he had to do was cooperate with the officer. He would have gone to the Justice Center and from there who knows what would have happened, but he wouldn't have been shot.”
Tensing stopped DuBose after he spotted him driving on Vine Street without a front license plate on his car. Tensing is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. His first trial ended in a hung jury.
Testimony resumes at 9:30 a.m.
See all of WCPO's coverage of the trial at WCPO.com/TensingTrial.