Feds reviewing civil rights case against Ray Tensing - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Feds reviewing civil rights case against Ray Tensing

(FOX19 NOW file) (FOX19 NOW file)
CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

The Department of Justice will review the case of a former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed motorist in 2015.

The U.S. Attorney's Office made the announcement Tuesday after Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters revealed he won't seek a third trial for Ray Tensing.

Deters' staff has already met with federal investigators and turned over evidence in Tensing's case, the prosecutor said.

Federal charges would be different than the state charges and would contain different elements. Some evidence left out of the state trials could be allowed in a federal court prosecution. 

"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," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. 

Deters supports a potential federal case against Tensing.

"They [Department of Justice] could admit evidence that we could not before," Deters said, referring to the judge's decision to ban a controversial piece of evidence in the case. 

In the second trial, prosecutors were prohibited from showing jurors the "Great Smokey Mountains" T-shirt depicting the Confederate flag Tensing wore under his police uniform the day he shot and killed Samuel DuBose. 

Despite that, jurors in the second trial still discussed the shirt during deliberations, according to Defense Attorney Stew Mathews. 

Tensing could be tried in federal court under the "deprivation of rights under color of law" statute , Deters said. The DOJ defines that as:

Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

[DuBose family calls Tensing decision 'ridiculous']

Tensing fatally shot DuBose during a July 2015 traffic stop. He's been tried two times for murder and voluntary manslaughter. Both ended in mistrials.

[No third trial for ex-UC cop in shooting death of unarmed motorist]

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