UC officer first local cop charged with murder

Tensing surrenders Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW/Lisa Hutson)
Tensing surrenders Wednesday. (FOX19 NOW/Lisa Hutson)
Samuel DuBose (Provided)
Samuel DuBose (Provided)

University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing is believed to be the first local law enforcement officer ever to be charged with murder.

"I can't remember a circumstance where a law enforcement officer, while on duty, was indicted for murder," said retired Cincinnati Police Lt. Stephen Kramer, who runs the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.

Kramer said this is a sad day for all law enforcement, one that could cast dark shadow over their credibility.

"It is a hugely unfortunate day for law enforcement from all perspectives," he said. "This is a trust issue we are going to be dealing with now. Up until now, in my opinion, the trust issue and trust allegations have been made up by people who want there to be problems. But this could cause a legitimate trust issue."

Kramer watched the body camera video footage and was horrified.

"No wonder it was murder," he said of the grand jury's decision. "I am still shocked. My God, it does not look good."

Historically, police rarely face criminal charges for use of force.

Only three local ones have been charged since 2001.

Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach, 27, shot and killed unarmed and fleeing Timothy Thomas, 19, who was wanted on several misdemeanors, in Over-the-Rhine in April 2001.

The shooting sparked Cincinnati's worst racial unrest in three decades.

Roach was charged with negligent homicide and obstructing official business, both misdemeanors, and was acquitted in a bench trial.

He quit the Cincinnati Police Department in 2002 and began working for Evendale police, where he remains employed.

In January 2001, Cincinnati Police Officers Robert "Blaine" Jorg, 28, and Patrick Caton, 34, were indicted in connection with Roger Owensby's death.

Jorg was charged with misdemeanor assault and involuntary manslaughter. Caton was charged with assaulting Owensby.

Owensby, 29, died in police custody shortly after his arrest on Nov. 7, 2000. Although there was no warrant for his arrest, he was questioned outside a Roselawn convenience store and initially cooperated with police officers.

Police say Owensby tried to run and was tackled by several officers. He was struck several times, forced to the ground and handcuffed.

The coroner later determined Owensby died of asphyxiation.

Later that year, Jorg and Caton were acquitted on the assault charges.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict in the involuntary manslaughter charge, resulting in a mistrial.

Then-Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said he would not try Jorg again.

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