Not only was John Crawford III not holding the pellet gun when he was gunned down “on sight” by police officers in an Ohio Walmart, but he certainly was not “pointing” it at people or in any way acting in a threatening manner. Now that a grand jury has irresponsibly chosen not to indict Sergeant David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams on criminal charges, the surveillance video of the shooting has been released — and police certainly do not look heroic in this incident.
“This case is a tragedy for the family and for the police officers who were justified to take a life,” said Special Prosecutor John Piepmeier. He said that officers were trained to “neutralize the threat” immediately — which, in this case, means murdering an innocent man whose only “crime” was being engaged in a phone conversation.
After the grand jury decided that police shooting an African-American man carrying a pellet gun he picked up in the store and planned to buy based on a phone call from a habitual liar who changed his story after realizing that video cameras exist was justified, the Attorney General released the following statement indicating that the Department of Justice would take over from here:
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office respects the work completed by the grand jury in Greene County. Now that the state criminal investigation has finished, it is an appropriate time for the United States Department of Justice to look into whether any federal laws were violated during this shooting. BCI has been in frequent contact with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office throughout its investigation and will turn over requested investigative files to the Department of Justice.”
The City of Beavercreek issued a statement saying that, despite the video clearly showing that Crawford made no indication he realized officers were there, officers followed “accepted law enforcement protocol” in gunning down a man who had not committed a crime.
“The events of August 5th were tragic and we wish the outcome of that evening had been different. However, based on the information the responding officers had and Mr. Crawford’s failure to comply with the responding officers orders, the officers did what they were trained to do to protect the public. The officers followed accepted law enforcement training protocol in their response to the report of an active threat in the Wal-Mart store. The grand jury review of the evidence and subsequent no bill decision indicates the officers’ actions were not of a criminal nature and justified under Ohio law.
Although the state review process has been concluded, in keeping with the Beavercreek Police Department’s Organizational Values and our desire to uphold the public trust, City Manager, Michael A. Cornell and Police Chief Dennis Evers are requesting the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct a separate review of the Beavercreek Police Department’s actions in this case to determine if there were any civil rights violations. The Beavercreek Police Department will cooperate fully with the FBI during this process. Until the conclusion of the review of the FBI’s recommendations by the Department of Justice, Officer Sean Williams will be assigned administrative desk duty within the police department. The City will have no further comment pending the Department of Justice review.”
Crawford attorney Michael Wright told 2 NEWS that,
“It is absolutely incomprehensible that Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams was not indicted for the unlawful killing of John H. Crawford, lll. It makes absolutely no sense that an unarmed 22-year-old man would be killed doing what any American citizen does every day: shopping at a Walmart store. The Crawford family is extremely disappointed, disgusted and confused. They are heartbroken that justice was not done in the tragic death of their only son.”
In the video, which starts shortly before the murder, Crawford can be seen calmly standing at the end of the aisle holding the gun, which is pointed at the floor. Occasionally, the victim swings the toy gun side-to-side. The gun, at no point, is aimed at any person or thing. At one point, Crawford appears to drop the gun and trip over it.
At about 50 seconds into the video, Crawford drops to his knees — apparently because officers were shooting him. He then falls backwards, dead. At no point is Crawford “like, pointing it at people” or “like, loading it right now” as was fraudulently claimed by the “witness” who called police. Since the video is silent, nothing corroborates or disproves police claims that they “issued verbal commands.” However, as Crawford seems oblivious to their presence until the very end, and does not appear to react one way or another, it is likely that their claim is fraudulent.