CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) – Defense attorneys rested their case Tuesday in the trial of a former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murder in connection with a traffic stop shooting.
Ray Tensing became emotional as he described the traffic stop during which he shot Sam Dubose on the witness stand Tuesday.
His attorneys continued their efforts Tuesday to prove that when the former officer shot Dubose, it was out of fear for his life.
“I remember thinking, ’Oh my god,’ that he’s gonna run me over and he’s gonna kill me,” Tensing said.
Tensing faces charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of Dubose, an unarmed black motorist.
Tensing told investigators that he reached into Dubose’s car to try to get his keys out of the ignition during the traffic stop and Dubose was driving the car, dragging the officer, when he fired his gun.
Prosecutors argue that Dubose was not driving away when he was shot, but that his foot hit the accelerator after he was shot.
Tensing said that he felt his body fall backwards as Dubose’s car was “rocketing away.”
“It felt like I was attached to his car for a mile but I would guess it was 15 or 20 feet,” he added.
He didn’t know that Dubose had been shot until he looked into the car, Tensing testified.
Tensing testified that the T-shirt he was wearing under his uniform the day he shot Dubose, which depicted a Confederate flag, was a gift. The flag means nothing ot him, he added.
He also showed the jury videos of traffic stops he initiated on the day he shot Dubose. In one, he stops a black man who has not driver’s license. He handcuffs him, but later lets him go with a citation and allows him to get a friend to drive his car home so that it’s not impounded.
Defense attorney Stew Mathews also called use of force expert James Scanlon, who testified that the shooting was justified, reasonable and consistent with police training.
Scanlon said that he watched the body cam video several times and is certain that the car was moving before Tensing pulled his weapon.
Prosecutors disputed Scanlon’s video expertise, pointing out that their video expert testified to the millisecond when the car started moving and when Tensing pulled his gun.
Prosecutors wrapped their case Monday. Witnesses included a video expert who testified that Dubose’s car moved — but only one to two feet — before Tensing fired his gun; a coroner’s office representative; and officers who responded to the shooting.
Prosecutors also called a use of force expert who testified that Tensing’s actions escalated the situation, leading to the shooting; and the officer who trained Tensing on traffic stops, who testified that he had taught his students never to reach into a car.
Tensing’s defense called a few officers Monday who testified that Tensing looked pale and frightened just after the shooting and that he was rubbing his arm.
Tensing received treatment for an injury to his arm after the shooting.
Closing arguments are expected Wednesday morning, and then the jury will deliberate. If the jury does not reach a verdict Wednesday, they will be sequestered to a hotel for the night, Judge Megan Shanahan reminded them.