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After two hung juries, charges dismissed in police shooting of black motorist

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CINCINNATI - Ohio is through with Ray Tensing.

The voluntary manslaughter and murder charges against former University of Cincinnati police officer were formally dismissed Monday.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz dropped the charges with prejudice, meaning this case against Tensing is dismissed permanently.

However, U.S Attorney Ben Glassman has said his office is looking into federal civil rights violations against Tensing. He was charged in the July 2015 shooting death of unarmed black motorist Sam DuBose during a traffic stop in Mount Auburn.

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Before dismissing each charge, Ghiz, apologized for "dragging" the parties to court for a hearing she said was taking place only because of the various media lawsuits against her.

Another point of conflict had to be decided, though.

Stew Mathews, Tensing's attorney, argued for an acquittal. Mathews said the two non-verdict trials proved that evidence failed to prove guilt.

Prosecutor Seth Tieger objected and called the difference between dismissal and acquittal a "big legal technicality. ... We are saying the evidence is sufficient to convict."

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ghiz formally dismissed the voluntary manslaughter and murder charges against Ray Tensing Monday, July 24. Tensing is a former University of Cincinnati police officer who was charged with murdering Sam DuBose during a routine traffic stop on July 19, 2015. During two trials, jurors were unable to reach a verdict. (Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer, Liz Dufour)

Ghiz ruled against acquittal before dismissing the charges.

The judge also unsealed certain documents in the case, namely transcripts of jury questions to her made during sessions in her chambers.

In the first session, dated June 20, is, "May we have a list of the Defense witnesses?" and the second was "Can we have a copy of the audio and video from (Scott) Roder's presentation? We were only given the paper format."

Ghiz then informed the jurors of the defense's witnesses, "Scott Roder, Nate Asbury from the Cincinnati Police Department, Derek Noland from the UC Police Department, Jeff Van Pelt from the UC Police Department, and Rick Haas from the UC Police Department, retired. And on Friday you had James Scanlon from the Columbus Police Department, who is retired also, and Mr. Tensing."

The second session, dated June 22, is, "What is the legal definition of passion and/or sudden passion?"

Terina DuBose Allen, Sam DuBose's sister and the family's spokeswoman, said Monday the dismissal was "just disappointing. It's further disappointing that the judge dismissed them with prejudice, so they can never be brought up again.

Body cam video still from University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing on July 19, 2015 during a routine traffic stop of Samuel DuBose in Mount Auburn. Shortly after this, Tensing fatally shot DuBose. (Photo: Tensing body cam)

"We continue to believe the Department of Justice will intervene ... and somewhere in this system we will have justice."

After Monday's hearing, Mathews said Tensing is "relieved" by the dismissal but knows a possible federal indictment hangs over him.

"He is still concerned," Mathews said of Tensing.

Mathews also praised jurors for being "extremely attentive" and said the juries "were divided along racial lines. That is America today."

Read more: First Jury Question Second Jury Question

Prosecutor Joe Deters also said that race played a part in jury deliberations.

Deters said previously that after discussions with "multiple jurors" after the two mistrials led him to not pursue a third trial. "They have, to a person, said ... that we will never get a conviction," he said at a news conference last week. "So many things bled into the jury room related to race."

Over the weekend, approximately 100 supporters of the late DuBose marched from Fountain Square to The Banks. Later Monday a group of Tensing supporters plan to march from Sawyer Point across the Purple People Bridge.

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Deters said Tuesday that he has turned over trial materials to federal prosecutors.

"My 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," U.S. Attorney Glassman said in a statement.

He gave no timeline for a possible decision.

Follow Mark Curnette on Twitter: @MarkCurnutte

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