Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan declares a mistrial in the murder trial against Ray Tensing, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Cincinnati. Jurors failed to come up with a verdict against a white former police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorist and were leaning toward a lesser conviction, a prosecutor said Saturday after the mistrial was declared. (Cara Owsley/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)
Cincinnati, OH – Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan today declared a mistrial in the Ray Tensing murder trial. Tensing, who is white, was on trial for murder and voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting African American motorist Sam DuBose. Just seconds after pulling him over for a traffic violation on July 19, 2015, Tensing put a gun to DuBose’s head and took his life. DuBose was unarmed at the time he was killed. The AMOS Project, a federation of the faith-based organizing network, PICO National Network, released the following statement in response:
“There’s been widespread concern about the spread of white supremacy following the election of Donald J. Trump, who openly stoked racial animus during his presidential election bid,” said the Rev. Dr. Troy Jackson, executive director of the AMOS Project. “The decision by 12 jurors in Hamilton County, Ohio, is much bigger evidence of white supremacy than anything that happened on Election Day. A man is dead and a dozen jurors let his killer walk free.”
Tensing was wearing a shirt emblazoned with a confederate flag underneath his police uniform on the day he killed DuBose.
Stationed outside the Hamilton County Courthouse just minutes after the verdict was read, Jackson added, “An innocent father was pulled over for not having a front license plate and shot in the head. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters must retry Tensing.”
“There is no way to normalize the continual shootings of African Americans by police,” said Elizabeth Hopkins, a faith organizer with the AMOS Project. “The faith community as a whole, police, elected officials and others must cease calls for peace and instead demand justice.”
Protestors gather at a police line outside the Hamilton County Courthouse after a mistrial is declared due to a hung jury in the murder trial against Ray Tensing, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Cincinnati. Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer, is charged with murdering Sam DuBose while on duty during a routine traffic stop on July 19, 2015. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
“American systems and structures, including the church, have treated the wounds of God’s people carelessly,” Hopkins continued. “For 400 years, we’ve urged African Americans to be calm, promising justice in the hereafter. However, we need to stand with the oppressed, and in America, oppressed people include African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims and other religious minorities, undocumented men and women and LGBTQ allies. God has great sympathy for the oppressed and the fatherless. Why don’t we?”
“The fatal shooting of DuBose is part of a larger pattern of police violence against communities of color,” said Pastor Michael McBride, PICO National Network LIVE FREE Campaign Director. “Sadly, Tensing is not the first officer to walk free. It’s not just up to the judicial system to hold perpetrators of rogue police accountable. The entire community has a role to play.”
PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 45 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org
For more information on pushing back on police violence against communities of color, please see this short video: https://vimeo.com/186484272.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Farmer at 202.306.0136.