CINCINNATI -- Former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing will take the stand Friday to defend himself against charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Sam DuBose.
Tensing shot and killed DuBose during a traffic stop near UC's campus in 2015. His account since that time has held that he reached inside DuBose's car to grab the keys, his hand became caught in the steering wheel, and DuBose accelerated, dragging Tensing alongside the vehicle.
Tensing and his defense attorneys have asserted that he fired then because he was afraid for his life, comparing DuBose's acceleration to assault with a deadly weapon.
"I'm thinking, ‘This guy's actually trying to kill me right now,'" he said in his initial statement to Terry McGuffey and Shannon Heine of the Cincinnati Police Department's Homicide Unit. "'I don't want to die today on this street. I don't want to get run over by his vehicle.'"
The prosecution has attempted to refute Tensing's account by arguing that he was not in danger, that body camera footage did not show his arm caught in the steering wheel and that he never should have reached into DuBose's car at all.
Original prosecutor Joe Deters said Tensing shot DuBose "because he was mad" and pulled DuBose over on "a chicken-shit (traffic) stop."
Neither set of arguments won the jury, and Tensing's first round in court ended in a mistrial. Some viewers might have been moved by the tears he shed on the stand; DuBose's family decried them as part of a performance.
"We were at the Oscars just now. We was watching an actor on the stand right now," DaShonda Reid, DuBose's fiancee said. "Imitating tears -- tears that we've been crying over a year as a family -- very passionate tears. Tears because we lost someone.
Tensing won't be first in his own defense Friday, however. He'll be preceded by James Scanlon, a retired Columbus police officer who testified in Tensing's first trial as a video analysis expert despite his lack of background in that area of police work.
He will appear as a use of force expert, a position for which he is perhaps better suited, in the retrial. His role as video analyst was usurped by Scott Roder, who traded verbal fisticuffs with assistant prosecutor Stacey DeGraffenreid throughout Thursday's testimony.