CINCINNATI – Alicia Napier said she had just put her two young kids in their car seats for a trip to her mother’s house when Sam DuBose’s car and then Ray Tensing’s police vehicle pulled up behind her on Rice Street.
Over the next few minutes, Napier said, she sat parked on the street and watched curiously out of her car mirrors at what she thought was a routine traffic stop about two car lengths away. Then, her curiosity turned to fright when she heard a gunshot and saw a police officer fall to the pavement.
“I ducked down to the floor thinking they were going to shoot at each other,” Napier said on the witness stand in the Tensing retrial Friday.
Napier struck two blows to the defense's case when she testified that she heard a shot, then saw Tensing fall and then saw DuBose’s car in motion – in that order. She also said she didn't see DuBose's car drag Tensing.
RELATED: Key moments from Friday's testimony
The defense claims DuBose’s car was dragging Tensing and only then did Tensing fire one shot out of fear that he would be run over.
“After the shot, that’s when the car moved,” Napier testified.
Assistant prosecutor Seth Tieger then asked: “Had DuBose's car moved prior to the shot?”
“No,” Napier said. “It moved after.”
Tieger: “You heard the shot and that’s when you saw the car move for the first time?
Tieger: “One hundred percent sure?”
Watch Napier's testimony below:
Under cross examination, Napier said Tensing was not in contact with DuBose’s car when it moved.
Defense attorney Stew Mathews: “Did you ever see Ray Tensing moving in any manner with Sam DuBose’s car?”
Napier: “No, he was on the ground. There was no way he was attached to the car. There was none. He wasn’t touching the car at all.”
Mathews: “How did he get on the ground?”
Napier: “I guess the power of the gun made him fall.”
Mathews “You’re totally guessing, correct?”
Mathews asked Napier if she saw the events she described with “her own eyes.” Napier answered, Yes." She earlier testified she had watched several videos on YouTube, and Mathews asked if she was "filling in the blanks" in what she actually saw happen with what she had seen on the videos.
Later in the day, Mathews was able to cast some doubt on Napier's testimony while Cincinnati police Sgt. Shannon Heine was on the stand. Heine took Napier's statement on the night of the shooting.
Heine said there were “some inconsistencies” between Napier's statement and what Heine saw on Tensing’s body-cam era video.
"But none that were heavily of note to discount her entire statement," Heine said.
"You didn't discount her entire statement, but it wasn't entirely accurate. Is that correct?" Mathews asked.
“Correct," Heine said.
Napier, who had her 6-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter in the back seat, said once she heard the gunshot she was worried about her daughter. Mathews suggested she was distracted by her kids.
Mathews: “Were you doing something with your daughter?”
Napier: “Kind of.”
Earlier, Napier said she first thought DuBose had shot Tensing after seeing Tensing fall. She said she didn't learn otherwise until later. She also said she originally thought she heard two shots, then learned that the second sound was DuBose’s car hitting the guardrail after it took off up the street.
A few seconds after the shot, Napier said she looked up and saw Tensing and two other officers -- with guns drawn -- run up the street at DuBose's car as it whizzed by hers.
She said she made a U-turn and drove off. As she left, she drove around DuBose’s front bumper lying in the street.
Napier said she lived on Rice Street in her mother-in-law's house. She said she watched the incidents through her rear window mirror at first, then through the driver’s door mirror. She said she couldn’t hear any conversation between Tensing and DuBose because her car windows were up and the air conditioning was on.
Napier said she called her mother-in-law and told her what happened, but she didn't call police.
"I didn't want to get involved," she said. Police contacted her that night and she went downtown and gave a statement.
Napier requested that she not be photographed during her testimony. Napier also testified in last November’s first trial, which ended in a hung jury.
Tensing is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. Testimony started Thursday and will continue next week.
Monday's prosecution witnesses are supposed to include Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst, and Cincinnati police officer Jimmy Pham. Both testified in the first trial. Fredericks broke down the Tensing body-cam video into a frame-by-frame presentation. Pham testified about photos of Tensing at the hospital and of Tensing's uniform.
See all of WCPO's coverage of the trial at WCPO.com/TensingTrial.