A former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murdering an unarmed Black motorist did not speak during his court appearance on Friday, which comes in anticipation of his trial beginning in less than two weeks.
Ray Tensing, 26, sat with his lawyers as details over jury selection were discussed at a final pretrial hearing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. He is accused of the July 19, 2015 shooting death of Sam DuBose, 43, near the school’s campus.
DuBose had been stopped over a missing front license plate. Graphic video shows tensing shooting DuBose in the head during a traffic stop as he apparently moves his car. Tensing’s lawyers have maintained that he was being dragged by the car, which he says to other officers in bodycam footage. But an independent report showed that the car moved because Dubose’s foot pressed on the accelerator after he was shot.
The report also said that the shooting was unnecessary and “critical errors in judgement” on Tensing’s part caused the situation to escalate.
According to DuBose police records, he had a pattern of being pulled over for minor traffic offenses like not wearing a seat belt, or speeding, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. He had paid as much in $12,000 in fines and was constantly being held by police for the infractions. But he also was unarmed during the traffic stops and had never been accused of trying to flee.
Tensing had a record of stopping Black motorists four times as often as Whites, according to S. Gregory Baker, UC Director of Police Community Relations. “There was a distinct disproportion in the number of citations he wrote to African Americans as compared to his peer officers,” Baker told WCPO last year.
Tensing was arraigned, charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter, and freed on $1 million bond. He has pleaded not guilty. Friday’s appearance was the final pretrial hearing before the trial begins on Oct. 25.
His father was also present for the hearing, as was DuBose’s fiancee and three of his children.
This story has been updated.