Move the Ray Tensing trial to a larger courtroom to allow for greater public access. And move the overflow room out of the jail building.

That’s the request from the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Councilwoman Yvette Simpson.

The trial of former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing in the death of Sam DeBose started Tuesday with jury selection in one of the Hamilton County Courthouse’s smaller rooms since it’s the courtroom of the judge to whom the case was assigned.

Court officials are opening two additional spaces for overflow viewing. Much of the trial will be livestreamed at and elsewhere.

“Having the overflow room at the Justice Center and not the Courthouse has a negative stigma attach(ed) to it that may have been inadvertently overlooked,” Simpson and the BLAC said in a press release.

Simpson and BLAC believe the trial needs to be moved “because keeping (it) in a smaller courtroom does not help the public’s perception of fairness as the Cincinnati community witnesses the progression of Mr. Tensing’s trial,” the release said.

Currently, only 20 spectators are permitted in the in the courtroom, which holds 81 people. Seats are being set aside for security, the media and members of both Tensing and DuBose’s families.

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