CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio judge citing “unprecedented and extensive media coverage” imposed a gag order Wednesday in the murder retrial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer accused of killing an unarmed black motorist during a traffic stop.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz prohibited attorneys and other parties in the case from discussing it with the news media until it is resolved.
Ghiz on Monday set Ray Tensing’s retrial for May 25 and said her objective is to seat a jury and again try the case in Hamilton County. Prosecutor Joe Deters had said he wanted to move the retrial to another Ohio county, away from intense local attention to the case, after a Nov. 12 mistrial declared after jurors couldn’t agree on a verdict.
“In light of the unprecedented and extensive media coverage … this protective order is intended to prevent media coverage of statements that might unfairly influence the potential jury pool and the outcome of the case,” Ghiz wrote in her terse order.
Tensing, 27, is charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 2015 shooting of 43-year-old Sam DuBose. Tensing testified in his first trial that he feared for his life as DuBose tried to drive away. Prosecutors said evidence contradicted Tensing’s story.
The first trial’s judge imposed a gag order after it began amid juror concerns about protecting their anonymity.
A South Carolina jury deadlocked Dec. 5 on the same charges against Michael Slager, a white former North Charleston officer. The prosecutor there also pledged to try Slager again, for the traffic-stop shooting death of black motorist Walter Scott.
The fatal shootings are among cases around the country that have raised attention to how police deal with blacks.