Hamilton County Prosecutor announces Ohio Supreme Court decision affirming Prosecutor’s action in handling of body cam video
Today the Ohio Supreme Court in a unanimous decision affirmed the actions of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters and his handling of the release of the Ray Tensing body camera video.
Former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Raymond Tensing shot unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose on July 19, 2015 while patrolling the Clifton area. Tensing was subsequently indicted for murder and voluntary manslaughter and faces a second trial on these charges after his first jury trial ended in a mistrial.
Tensing was wearing a body camera at the time of his encounter with Mr. DuBose. His body camera recorded this encounter. The Cincinnati Enquirer, WCPO, WXIX, AP, WLWT and WKRC demanded immediate release of the video and filed suit against the Hamilton County Prosecutor on July 27, 2015, only 8 days after the incident occurred. Prosecutor Deters released the video on July 29th after the Hamilton County Grand Jury finished their work and returned an indictment against Tensing.
In today’s decision, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters on all points. The court held that three plaintiffs, the Cincinnati Enquirer, WCPO and WXIX, failed to make the appropriate request for this information. The court immediately dismissed the case filed by these three plaintiffs because they had not taken the appropriate steps necessary to file suit. The remaining plaintiffs, AP, WLWT and WKRC had their writ denied because Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters had released the video within a reasonable amount of time. The court also explained that because Mr. Deters acted reasonably, no attorney’s fees or statutory damages would be granted to any of the media parties.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters commented, “I am pleased with today’s decision and the high court’s agreement with how my office handled this matter. This is an important victory for law enforcement and our entire community in that it lets the prosecutor do his job to investigate cases before material is released to the media potentially jeopardizing future prosecution. The media’s continued narrative that release of this information should happen immediately has finally been put to bed by today’s decision from the Ohio Supreme Court.”