(CINCINNATI) — A former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man during a traffic stop turned violent testified today on his own behalf. He refuted claims that a T-shirt he wore with the Confederate flag had personal meaning to him.
Ray Tensing spoke while on trial for the fatal shooting that happened in July 2015. Then a police officer hired by the university, he pulled driver Sam DuBose over near the campus and, after a scuffle escalated, shot him.
Tensing, 26, lost his job after the shooting death and was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.
Tensing appeared calm on the witness stand and answered the questions that were asked of him with an air of deference.
He said that a relative had bought the confederate flag T-shirt for him and that he wore it under his uniform because had to wear a black T-shirt.
“It has no meaning to me,” Tensing said about the shirt. “It was in the laundry basket, I threw it on, and never thought about it.”
A photo of a black T-shirt emblazoned with an image of the Confederate flag and the words “Great Smoky Mountains” was presented by the prosecution earlier at Tensing’s trial during testimony by a crime scene technician, ABC affiliate WCPO in Cincinnati reported.
Tensing later became emotional when describing the events that lead up to the shooting of DuBose and started to cry on the stand.
He said that his “adrenaline was running so fast” as the encounter took place.
Asked whether it was “his purpose to kill” Dubose, Tensing stifled a cry.
“No, sir,” he said.
Tensing said his arm was stuck in the car and the car was turning toward him during the encounter.
The trial is taking place at the same time as another high profile police shooting, that of former North Charleston Officer Michael Slager, on trial in the fatal shooting of Walter Scott in April of 2015.
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