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Update: Second Mistrial Declared; Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Gets Away With Murder of Sam Dubose

For the second time, a jury has stated that it was deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on charges filed against University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing for the July 2015 murder of Sam Dubose. (See videos embedded below for body camera footage of that murder.) The jury initially indicated this morning that it was unable to reach a decision, but were told to go back and continue deliberating. Later this afternoon they returned and stated they were still deadlocked. As a result, Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz has declared a mistrial.

Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, there won’t be a third trial. So that effectively means Tensing has officially joined the ever expanding club of police officers who have gotten away with murder, including three just this week alone (Tensing, Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, and St. Paul Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez).

Of course, in order to have their killings declared justified all police officers need to do is state that they “feared for my life” and in order to get a mistrial they just need one of the twelve members of a jury to buy that rationalization. So that bar is incredibly low and that’s mostly by design. The system itself is tilted heavily in their favor and those running that system not only are their friends and co-workers, but have the further incentive of self preservation to push it even further in that direction.

In Tensing’s case, he claimed that he was in danger of being run over by Dubose as he attempted to drive away from a traffic stop the University of Cincinnati police officer had initiated because of a missing front license plate.

Via NBC News:

Tensing asked DuBose for his driver’s license and registration, which he failed to provide. The officer then ordered him to step out of his car and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused. The car began to pull away

With one hand still inside the car, Tensing yelled, “Stop! Stop!” before firing his gun at DuBose, striking him in the head. The car then began traveling out of control before coming to a stop.

Tensing’s bodycam captured the incident.

The men had a conversation for about one minute and 50 seconds before it escalated with Tensing and DuBose in a struggle. Within just a few seconds, Tensing fired his gun.

Two other officers were on scene, and their body cameras captured other angles of the shooting’s aftermath.

Those alternate angles captured by the other officers on the scene, as well as testimony from experts who examined those videos, contradicted Tensing’s claims that he was being dragged by, and in danger of being run over by, Dubose’s car.

It’s also been questioned whether the stop for something as trivial as a front license plate was merely an excuse used to justify a racially motivated profiling of Dubose. Officer Tensing’s unusually frequent history of traffic stops (when compared to other University of Cincinnati police officers) and the high percentage of minorities involved in those stops bolsters those claims.

Of course, the judges, prosecutors, and media are usually on the side of the cops and the general public is taught from the day they are born to believe cops are heroes that never lie or do anything bad. So it’s not that hard for them to at least find that one juror who will refuse to find a cop guilty, regardless of the actual facts presented during a trial. That’s a big part of why it’s almost impossible to convict a police officer regardless of the actual facts on the rare occasions when they get caught doing something outrageous enough to get charged in the first place.

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Update: First of Two Louisiana Cops Charged in Murder of Six Year Old Jeremy Mardis Sentenced to 40 Years

Marksville, LA. Police Officer Derrick Stafford was sentenced earlier today to 40 years in prison for the November 2015 murder of six year old Jeremy Mardis. Last week Stafford was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter for the shooting of Mardis and his father, Christopher Few, who was badly wounded but survived. (See below for videos of the actual shooting.) Technically, Stafford was sentenced to 55 years, but the fifteen years he received for attempting to kill Few will run concurrent to the 40 year sentence.

As has been reported several times already on the CopBlock Network (primarily by Brian Sumner and also by me personally), Mardis was killed by Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr. after a short car chase. Stafford and Greenhouse, who were working as Deputy Marksville City Marshals at the time, claimed that they had to defend themselves after Christopher Few had backed into Greenhouse’s vehicle.

However, body camera video showed that not only had Few, who was unarmed, stopped prior to the shooting, but that he had also raised his arms outside the window of his SUV. Other officers at the scene, including Marksville Police Lt. Kenneth Parnell, whose body camera recorded the video, did not fire their weapons and also testified that they did not do so because they did not “fear for their lives.” That “extremely disturbing” footage was later cited by Colonel Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police as one of the reasons why charges were filed against Greenhouse and Stafford.

After the shooting it was revealed that Few and Greenhouse were involved in a “love triangle” involving Few’s fiancee, Megan Dixon. Prior to the shooting there had reportedly been several prior confrontations between the two. Also, just prior to the beginning of the chase that culminated in the shooting, Few had been arguing with Dixon and attempting to convince her to come home with him.

Stafford and Greenhouse were both moonlighting as Deputy Marksville City Marshals at the time. In addition to that, Stafford worked full time as a Lieutenant with the Marksville Police Department. Greenhouse, whose trial will begin later this year, previously resigned from the Marksville PD and was working full time as an Alexandria City Marshal.

Full Body Camera Video

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Minnesota Deputy Caught on Video Beating K-9 Partner in Drunken Tirade Keeps Job (Update)

Last year, CopBlock Network contributor Asa J blogged about Deputy Brett Berry of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Berry had visited the Black Bear Casino in Carlton, MN, while attending training during K-9 trials in June (2015). Berry was thrown out of the casino for being drunk and making unwanted advances, as well as repeatedly making obscene gestures to the staff there. Shortly after he was observed by casino security on surveillance video (embedded below) abusing his K-9 partner.

Via Asa’s Original post:

The surveillance footage shows an obviously upset Berry pick the animal up by its collar, throw it on the ground, and repeatedly punch it in the face.

The docile canine can been seen trotting beside its handler, waging its tail, as it endures abuse that would make any pet owner cringe.

After the attack escalates, the dog is able to escape, and runs back to the casino. The footage shows Berry run after the animal before striking it multiple times outside a vestibule, police say.

After the security guards reported his assault upon the dog to the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Berry was sent home from the K-9 trials, placed on administrative leave (also known as paid vacation), and charged with animal cruelty. He was subsequently sentenced to (just) a year of probation. In April, he was fired by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.

However, on October 31 an arbitrator ruled that Berry should be reinstated, because this is the only time he has been caught on camera savagely beating a dog and he said he feels really bad about it. Of course, someone who has a documented history of resorting to violence when angry doesn’t pose a threat to the public while working as a cop. Instead, he will be on double secret probation and will not be allowed to work with K-9’s anymore.

Via the Twin Cities Pioneer Press:

In a decision filed Monday, state arbitrator Gil Vernon wrote that the sheriff’s office did not sufficiently consider mitigating factors when it moved to fire Berry, and those factors show Berry is at a low risk of future misconduct. He noted that Berry had been forthright about his behavior that night and he sought alcohol abuse treatment afterward.

“The record shows he has nearly 20 years of incident-free service with good evaluations,” Vernon wrote. “He spontaneously, contritely, sincerely and without equivocation accepted his responsibility. Next he without prompting moved immediately to address his underlying personal issues.”

Vernon noted that the canine Boone suffered no physical injuries, and several of Berry’s supervisors said they expected no problems if he returned to service.

Vernon ordered that Berry be reinstated to active duty immediately but with the restriction that he cannot work with canines. He also ruled that the county does not have to repay Berry the back wages he lost since his termination in April.

“The permanency of his reinstatement is dependent on the successful completion of the terms of his misdemeanor probation,” Vernon wrote. “Based on (Berry’s) record and reaction to this incident, the Arbitrator is convinced that it was an aberration and that he deserves another (but last) chance to resume his career.”

In addition, Sean Gormley, the head of Law Enforcement Labor Services of Minnesota, Deputy Berry’s local police union, stated, “Officer Berry has the support of his fellow officers, and we believe he can still be an asset to his department and to the people of Ramsey County,” because it’s almost impossible to do something (outside of exposing corruption within the department) that would eliminate that support.

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