Morning News: DuBose medical, criminal records inadmissible in Tensing Trial; streetcar ridership hits 200,000

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says he wasn’t aware that a white supremecist group — which uses the handle “@Pro-Whites” — had a white pride bent when he retweeted a message from the group.

Oct 27, 2016 at 11:21 am

The Cincinnati Bell Connector in Over-the-Rhine
The Cincinnati Bell Connector in Over-the-Rhine

Hello all. Here’s some quick news today.

Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan ruled yesterday that criminal and medical records for unarmed black motorist Samuel DuBose, who was shot in 2015 by then-UCPD officer Ray Tensing, cannot be used as evidence in Tensing’s trial. Shanahan said the information wasn’t relevant to the case and that it could prejudice a jury against DuBose. However, marijuana found in DuBose’s car after his shooting may be admitted, Shanahan decided. Tensing defense attorney Stew Matthews has argued that the marijuana, plus DuBose’s past medical and criminal history, explain why he would have fled Tensing. Matthews says that DuBose’s car was moving when Tensing shot him in the head, an assertion that Hamilton County prosecutors say is false.

• Folks have ridden the Cincinnati streetcar more than 200,000 times according to data released by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which is in charge of the transit project’s operation. Minus a very busy and popular opening weekend, the past month and a half has still seen more than 164,000 riders. That’s an average of about 3,700 a day, which surpasses SORTA’s goal of 3,000 people a day. Ridership is much heavier on the weekends, according to the data, while weekly ridership has lagged somewhat behind expectations.

• Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black wants to build a wall. No, he’s not suddenly become a Trump supporter. He’s concerned about security at City Hall, which has recently experienced cyber-attacks and received threats directed toward Mayor John Cranley. Thus, Black is proposing a $40,000 wall be built to seal off the building’s courtyard area on its Ninth Street side. An overhead garage door would block the Eighth Street side, and vehicles like delivery trucks would no longer be permitted in the open area in the middle of City Hall. The proposal drew some pushback from some council members, including Chris Seelbach, who said the move “reeks of fear and undercuts transparency” around local government.

• The race for the Hamilton County Commission seat currently held by interim commissioner Dennis Deters, a Republican, will be a very close one, folks close to both campaigns say. Both Deters and his challenger State Rep. Denise Driehaus, a Democrat, have big name recognition and plenty of support from their parties. That’s led to one of the most hotly contested commission races in recent memory. Deters has rare help from the Ohio Republican Party, which usually doesn’t get involved in local races. But Driehaus has outraised him on the campaign funding front, raking in $650,000 to Deters’ $475,000. Partisan control of the commission hangs in the balance of that race and the race between Democrat Todd Portune, who currently sits on the three-member commission, and his opponent, Republican small businessman Andrew Pappas.

• Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, a vocal opponent of lax immigration laws and an avid supporter of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, recently retweeted a post from a white supremacist group with the account name “@Pro-Whites.” The group, which tweeted a message to Jones about a house that had both a pro-Jones election sign and a sign supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, also tweets inflammatory content about so-called “white genocide” and other conspiracy theories around political correctness. Jones says he wasn’t aware that the group (which, again, has the handle “@Pro-Whites”) had a white pride bent when he retweeted the post and says he simply thought it was funny.

• Finally, one of only six newspapers to endorse GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is in Ohio, because of course it is. The Hillsboro Times Gazette dropped its Trump endorsement last week, joining esteemed papers like the Waxahachie Daily Light outside of Dallas in giving Trump the thumbs up. The paper even made national news for doing so, appearing in a Politico roundup of Trump-endorsing publications. Trump has received the fewest endorsements from media outlets of any modern presidential candidate. The Times Gazette’s endorsement isn’t exactly ringing — it’s two sentences long — but it is telling people to vote for Trump.