Police Review Finds Officer's Testimony Appropriate

Jul 21, 2017

A Cincinnati Police Department investigation finds Sgt. Shannon Heine did nothing wrong when testifying during the second Ray Tensing trial.

Heine, a prosecution witness, drew criticism when she stated her opinion during cross-examination from defense counsel Stew Mathews. She was testifying in Tensing's second trial on murder and voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of Sam DuBose during a 2015 traffic stop.

As a lead investigator, Heine conducted Tensing's interview with Cincinnati police several days after the shooting. On the stand in June, 2017, she was asked by Mathews to give her opinion of what happened based on her initial interview.

"Based on my time and training with internal investigations," she testified, "I thought I was looking at an officer-involved shooting where his actions may be determined to be justified based on the events surrounding the actual shooting and taking into consideration the information about the prior conduct of Mr. DuBose and Officer Tensing."

The prosecution objected as Heine began that statement, and again after, but Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz let it stand.

In a report released Friday, Cincinnati Police Captain Jeffrey Butler says Heine did not violate police procedure.

The memo states, "Sergeant Heine had a legal obligation to answer the questions as presented per the rules of the court and the authority of the presiding judge."

It further concludes "the prosecution team was fully aware of these opinions prior to presenting Heine as a prosecution witness."

Prosecutor Seth Tieger sought to do 'damage control' during his closing statements, reading several exchanges from Tensing's police interview where Heine apologized for the process and called it a formality.

"Was this the good ol' boy network kicking in?" Tieger asked. "Is this how they would have treated anybody else other than an officer?"

Tieger's comments prompted the internal investigation and drew the ire of the police union.

Here's Butler's report to Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac:

Heine Review by WVXU News on Scribd