Ex-cop testifies in Ohio retrial over traffic stop shooting

Former University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing, left, listens to James Scanlon, (not seen) testify during his retrial Friday, June 16, 2017, at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Cincinnati. Tensing is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of unarmed black motorist Sam DuBose during a 2015 traffic stop. (Cara Owsley /The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP, Pool)

CINCINNATI (AP) — A white former University of Cincinnati police officer on trial a second time on a murder charge took the witness stand Friday to tell his story of the 2015 shooting of an unarmed black motorist.

Ray Tensing, 27, also testified at his first trial. Jurors deadlocked last November on the murder and voluntary manslaughter charges that he is facing again.

Tensing spent about 10 minutes Friday testifying about his education and background, saying that becoming a police officer was the fulfillment of an aspiration he’d had since childhood. He appeared calm and poised, and seemed to look at the jury frequently during his testimony.

His lawyer then played videos that were taken during two previous traffic stops that Tensing conducted earlier in his shift before he shot DuBose. Those videos show motorists complying with Tensing’s directives.

Tensing, who is white, and his lawyer contend that the shooting was justified, saying Tensing feared for his life and shot to “stop the threat.” They have said DuBose did not provide identification, evaded Tensing’s questions and tried to drive away while Tensing’s arm was inside the vehicle.

Prosecutors have said the video from Tensing’s body camera that day shows there was no reason to use deadly force during the traffic stop.

James Scanlon, a use-of-force expert testifying for the defense, told jurors earlier Friday that he would also have feared for his life if he had been in Tensing’s situation. He said it was his opinion that Tensing was being “dragged.”

Scanlon said his opinion was based upon a lot of material, including a frame-by-frame review of the fatal shooting video that Tensing’s body-worn camera captured.

A use-of-force expert who testified earlier this week for the prosecution said he did not think Tensing was being dragged.

To convict Tensing of murder, jurors must decide that he purposely killed DuBose. The voluntary manslaughter charge means the killing happened during sudden passion or a fit of rage.

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