CINCINNATI (CN) – An Ohio prosecutor declined Tuesday to try former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing a third time for the 2015 shooting death of unarmed black man Sam DuBose.
Tensing, 27, shot and killed DuBose during a traffic stop on July 19, 2015, that was initiated by Tensing for a missing front license plate.
His first trial, held in November 2016, ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked and could not reach a verdict, and a retrial ended the same way last month. Both trials were held in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter.
In a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said, “It is my decision” to not retry Tensing again and that the DuBose family is “understandably upset.”
Deters said his “opinion of this case has not changed … and is not going to change.”
“However,” the prosecutor said, “I have an ethical responsibility to the people of this county that if we cannot be successful … then we cannot proceed.”
Deters said the case has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for possible civil rights violations, and that he is “hopeful” they will prosecute the case.
Responding to criticism that he should have tried Tensing on lesser offenses, Deters said, “To say that we overcharged him is absolutely idiotic.”
Protesters – some from the Black Lives Matter movement – were gathered outside the prosecutor’s office before the announcement.