Federal Civil Rights Review of DuBose Shooting Ongoing, Outgoing Cincinnati-Based U.S. Attorney Says

The two-year-old federal civil rights investigation into former UC police officer Ray Tensing's shooting of unarmed motorist Sam DuBose continues, U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman told the Associated Press this week.

Oct 31, 2019 at 11:03 am
Footage from Ray Tensing's body camera moments after he shot motorist Sam DuBose. - UCPD body camera footage
UCPD body camera footage
Footage from Ray Tensing's body camera moments after he shot motorist Sam DuBose.

U.S. Attorneys are still reviewing possible civil rights charges against a former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed motorist in Mount Auburn in 2015, outgoing U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman told the Associated Press this week.

Glassman's office first announced the federal probe in July 2017 shortly after Hamilton County prosecutors announced they would not seek a third trial for former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing.

Tensing, who is white, pulled over Sam DuBose, who was black, on July 19, 2015 after Tensing saw DuBose’s car was missing a front license plate and learned the car’s owner, DuBose’s girlfriend, had a suspended license.

DuBose refused to exit the vehicle, after which Tensing reached into it. DuBose made a motion to start the car and Tensing shot him within a split second of the vehicle moving, according to video analysis from an expert prosecution witness.

Tensing said he feared for his life and was dragged by DuBose’s car during that stop. Footage from his body camera does not appear to show he was dragged, but two juries could not reach a verdict in the case. One jury deadlocked on the murder and manslaughter charges prosecutors indicted Tensing on in November 2016. Another jury deadlocked in June 2017.

After the second jury failed to reach a verdict, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters declined to try Tensing a third time. Deters said his opinion of the case — that Tensing murdered DuBose — hadn’t changed, but he didn’t believe he could win a conviction.

“After vigorously prosecuting Ray Tensing twice, speaking to some of the jurors and consulting with my assistant prosecutors, I do not believe there is a likelihood of success at trial,” Deters said in a statement about the decision.

The federal inquiry will determine whether Tensing can be tried for federal civil rights violations for DuBose's shooting death. It is unclear when that review will conclude. 

Glassman discussed a number of other issues in the wide-ranging interview with AP — including his reaction to mass shootings in Cincinnati and Dayton over the past two years, the dangers of both Islamic and white nationalist extremists, economic espionage and other topics.

One subject Glassman didn't delve into much — his next moves. He did say he hopes to return to public service.

Glassman will step down tomorrow and assistant U.S. Attorney David DeVillers, who has been appointed for the role by President Donald Trump, will take the position.