As Tensing case goes federal, look how Civil Rights laws are part of American history
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The US Attorney will use the federal civil rights statue to decide if former UC police officer Ray Tensing violated the civil rights of Sam DuBose.
Tensing shot DuBose during a traffic stop two years ago this Wednesday.
Congress passed civil rights laws after the Civil War, back when lynchings became a way to resolve the anger whites had about blacks being freed.
"Among those rights is the right to be free, from excessive force. Among the rights is free from discrimination, racial discrimination, both of those play into the Ray Tensing case," said Al Gerhardstein, a civil rights attorney.
Gerhardstein believes the black shirt Tensing wore under his uniform is evidence the feds can consider.
The shirt is the one with the Confederate flag on it that was not allowed in the second trial.
"That evidence is relative to state of mind as he enforces law with respect to black people," said Gerhardstein.
"I disagree it was a great Smokey Mountain happened to have a confederate flag on it," said Tensing's attorney, Stew Mathews.
Stephen Roach was the first Cincinnati police officer ever charged with killing a suspect in 2001 at 13th and Republic. He shot Timothy Thomas and it sparked three days of rioting.
Roach was acquitted of negligent homicide. The Department of Justice looked at the case and did not file civil rights charges.
"Sometimes the only recourse is higher court where civil rights come into play, depend on it to get justice, sometimes get it, sometimes not," said Pastor Peterson Mingo, a community activist.
The officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson was cleared of civil rights charges, but the North Charleston officer caught on video fatally shooting a black motorist pleaded guilty to civil rights charges in May.
Officers convicted of violating Rodney King's civil rights in 1992 went to prison.
The beating sparked six days of rioting in Los Angeles.
It was king who asked “Can't we all just get along?”
Judge Leslie Ghiz must still rule on a motion for acquittal filed by Tensing's attorney.
If she grants the motion, Tensing cannot be tried again in state court.