No third Tensing trial, U.S. Attorney's Office may try for civil rights violations
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Tuesday that he will not try Ray Tensing a third time. However, he said he will work with the U.S. Attorney's Office for potential civil rights violations.
The U.S. Attorney's Office released this statement: U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman announced today that in light of the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s decision not to pursue a second retrial of Raymond Tensing, the United States Attorney’s Office will now undertake to acquire and review the evidence from the state court trials in order to assess whether there are possible federal civil rights offenses warranting investigation and potential prosecution.
Deters said he met with the family of Sam DuBose before his announcement. "Needless to say they're upset with what the decision was," said Deters. Last month, the second Tensing trial ended with a hung jury and a mistrial.
The prosecutor said he made his decision after discussing the first two trials with multiple jurors, both black and white. They told him that prosecutors will never get a conviction. During the first trial, Deters said it was 10-2 for an voluntary manslaughter conviction but he was told he'd never get a conviction of a police officer. "We were relentless, we fought everything, we did everything we could to secure a conviction."
Deters said his opinion has not changed in the two years since the shooting and it's not going to change. "I have an ethical duty as prosecutor, if we believe we can't be successful at trial we have a duty not to proceed."
Deters said he hopes the U.S. Attorney's Office will be more successful. Its investigation will be allowed to include matters not admissible during trial, including racial bias.
Deters called criticism that his office overcharged Tensing by not including less charges of reckless or negligent homicide "idiotic". When prosecutors get a murder indictment or a voluntary manslaughter indictment, it includes every lesser charge. He said that if Judge Ghiz felt there was evidence supporting reckless or negligent homicide, the Supreme Court ruled she must charge that to the jury. He said she found no evidence of either. Deters said, "When someone says I intentionally shot someone in the head, that's purposeful".
The prosecutor said that his decision not to try for a third trial and not getting convictions in the first two, "rips my heart out". He also said "this has been the most difficult decision in my career because I truly believe in this case, or I wouldn't have brought it."
And to those who say he's anti-police, he said he's cleared 51 officers for shootings in his career. Tensing was the first he charged. "Some of the best people I know are police officers but I think this incident was unjustified."