Preliminary proceedings are underway in the trial of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing. He's accused of murder in the shooting death of Sam DuBuse during an off-campus traffic stop last year.
Potential jurors filled out questionnaires Tuesday and some offered excuses for why they wouldn't be able to serve. Attorneys for both sides will spend the rest of the week reviewing the jury surveys. Final jury selection is expected to begin Oct. 31.
The first of five groups of around 50 potential jurors entered the courtroom beginning at noon on Tuesday; 39 were excused. Potential jurors were given rules and instructions on how the trial works and what they can and cannot do if selected. Twelve jurors and four alternates will be selected.
The 25-page questionnaire includes basic biographical questions. It also asks about perceptions of law enforcement officers, Black Lives Matter groups, the criminal justice system, body cameras, and experience with weapons.
Judge Megan Shanahan has said several times that she does not expect the trial will go any longer than Nov. 18, 2016. She drove home this point again during the jury orientations.
There were long lines Tuesday morning at the Hamilton County Courthouse with increased security as the trial begins. Members of the Amos Project, a religious organization dedicated to promoting justice, were gathered outside.
Faith Organizer Elizabeth Hopkins came to pray. "We decided that it was important, as people of faith, to show up in an area that might be uncomfortable for some folks because it's important to be present in the hard times and I think the church has been kind of silent around some of the hard times and we want to change that."
Hopkins says she wants people to know that her organization is at the courthouse, it cares and is experiencing hate and frustration right alongside everyone else.
Later in the afternoon, faith and community leaders gathered again to say they'll be watching the proceedings carefully.
Cincinnati NAACP President Rob Richardson Sr. says many have lost faith in the county justice system. "Even though people have said it's going to be a fair trial and a straight trial, it's hard for us to just accept that."