CINCINNATI -- The high-profile murder trial of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who shot and killed Sam Dubose during an off-campus traffic stop in 2015, will likely bring national attention to Cincinnati when it it begins Oct. 24.
"It will pull the scab off the wound,” said Greg Baker, director of police-community relations at UC. “We want to make sure that we are ready."
With this in mind, the Black Lawyers Association hoped to ease the tensions surrounding the case -- one of many to raise questions about the way American police departments interact with the black community -- with a public forum at New Prospect Baptist Church Wednesday night. DuBose’s mother and brother also attended.
"We are feeling eager," Audrey DuBose said, seeing the crowd.“I don’t think it’s just Sam’s life that they are interested in. They are interested in things being right."
The members of the panel, which included City Council president pro tem Yvette Simpson, retired judge Nadine Allen and defense attorney Rodney Harris, hoped to educate attendees about courtroom procedure and what they can expect from Tensing’s trial.
"What (the court is) looking at is, ‘What would a reasonable police officer with the same experience, with the same training, have done under those circumstances?'" Harris told attendees.
Sara Amen, one of the Cincinnatians who attended the panel, said he believed most people were not hopeful about the outcome of the case, but he was interested to see how it would play out in the current political climate.
"I am certain that a number of people have their concerns," he said. “It is up in the air. We don’t know exactly what will happen."
Tensing pleaded not guilty to both murder and voluntary manslaughter after the shooting, which was captured on dashcam video. An independent investigation launched by the university said the shooting was "not justified" and that Tensing had a record of stopping black motorists like DuBose four times as often as their white counterparts; UC later settled with DuBose's family for $4.85 million.