Judge sets Ohio police officer's murder trial for November

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2015 10:32 AM

By Ginny McCabe

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - A former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorist during a traffic stop will stand trial in November, a judge said on Wednesday.

Ray Tensing, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the death of Samuel DuBose, 43, who was shot in the head after Tensing stopped him for a missing license plate on July 19.

Tensing was not present at the brief court hearing when Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan scheduled his jury trial to begin Nov. 16.

Tensing, who was fired from his campus police job, was released on bond after an initial court appearance in July. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

The incident was the latest in a series of fatal police confrontations in the United States that have raised questions about law enforcement's use of force against racial minorities.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters has said Tensing was not dragged by DuBose's car as the officer had stated to justify the shooting. Tensing's attorney, Stew Mathews, has said Tensing drew his weapon because he feared for his life during the altercation.

After the hearing on Wednesday, Mathews told reporters the defense would seek to have the trial moved from Hamilton County.

Prosecutors have released videos from body cameras worn by Tensing and two other university police officers who witnessed the shooting.

Tensing's body-camera video showed the traffic stop and the shooting. After failing to provide a driver's license at Tensing's request, DuBose tried to prevent Tensing from opening the car door as the officer ordered him to remove his seat belt.

The car started slowly rolling forward as Tensing reached in and yelled for him to stop. The officer pulled his gun and fired once, killing DuBose.

On the video of a body camera from a fellow officer, Tensing repeatedly said he was dragged by DuBose's car and got his arm stuck in the car.

(Reporting by Ginny McCabe; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Susan Heavey)