Another mistrial in case of US officer who shot black man

CHICAGO: The second murder trial of a white Ohio policeman who shot a black man during a routine traffic stop ended on Friday in a mistrial, just as the first had a year earlier.
Former University of Cincinnati campus police officer Ray Tensing was accused of killing Sam DuBose in a case tinged with the same overtones of racial discrimination and heavy-handed tactics as other recent high-profile US police shooting cases.
Tensing, 27, told investigators that he opened fire out of fear for his life after DuBose, 43, tried to drive away and dragged the officer along with him.
But prosecutors said a review of police body camera footage showed Tensing was not in danger during the July 2015 incident involving the unarmed motorist.
The first trial in 2016 ended in mistrial after the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The jury in the second trial sent a note to the judge on Friday that they were similarly divided.
“We are almost evenly split regarding our votes towards a final verdict. We have given this extensive deliberation, with opportunity for both sides to express their positions. We do not perceive coming to a unanimous decision,” the jury wrote.
The prosecutor during the first trial, Joseph Deters, had strongly criticised the shooting.
“This is the most asinine act I have ever seen a police officer make,” he said at the time. “It was totally unwarranted.”
US prosecutors have found it difficult to convict police officers in high-profile shooting cases involving black victims — despite recent incidents being captured on video.
Anger over the failure to find the officers guilty has sometimes boiled over, leading to violent protests.
Peterson Mingo, a DuBose family spokesman and Cincinnati church pastor, appealed on Friday for calm.
“Right now, the family wants peace. The family wants reconciliation,” he told reporters.
“The family does not want any upheaval. They don’t want any violence,” Mingo said.
A Wisconsin jury earlier this week acquitted Dominique Heaggan-Brown in the killing of Sylville Smith, who was carrying a semi-automatic pistol during a brief foot chase.
Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty last week in the shooting death of motorist Philando Castile, whose dying moments were live-streamed on Facebook.
And all six Baltimore officers charged over the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, due to spinal cord injuries suffered in the back of a police van, were eventually cleared. — AFP