Jurors to visit scene of police shooting as trial begins

AP Photo
AP Photo/John Minchillo

CINCINNATI (AP) — Jurors in the murder trial of a white University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man during a traffic stop will visit the street near campus where the shooting took place.

After they visit the scene on Tuesday morning, opening statements will begin in the murder trial of 26-year-old Ray Tensing. He is charged in the 2015 death of Sam DuBose, 43, who was stopped for a missing front license plate.

A jury of two black women, four white women and six white men was seated on Monday. Four white women were added as alternate jurors after a day of questioning by attorneys who urged jury candidates to put aside race, news stories and police perceptions for the case of the now-fired officer.

Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan told jurors to avoid news media coverage of the trial and to stay off social media and the internet.

The trial in Ohio and one that began on Monday in Charleston, South Carolina, for another white former police officer facing a murder charge for the shooting of a black man are among cases over the last two years that have increased attention to how black people are treated by police in the United States. The two shootings occurred after traffic stops.

Assistant prosecutor Rick Gibson said prior knowledge of the case was not a problem, as long as jurors followed the law and decided the case based on the evidence.

Both sides asked potential jurors about the widely viewed video from Tensing’s body-worn camera and warned that it and other trial evidence would be graphic. Mathews said the video does not show the angle the officer was viewing nor “what the person wearing that camera perceives in his brain or feels in his gut.”

Mathews has said Tensing feared for his life as DuBose tried to drive off.

Members of the activist group Black Lives Matter were among dozens of people demonstrating outside the courthouse on Monday.

The judge assured the potential jurors that their anonymity would be protected and said she expects the trial to end by Nov. 18.

Associated Press writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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