Earlier this month, police gunned down John Crawford III, an African-American man, inside an Ohio Walmart. Allegedly, Crawford was waving a gun around — but a lawsuit claims differently.
The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun that Crawford seemed to plan to purchase from the store.
When officers arrived LeCee Johnson, Crawford’s girlfriend who was on the phone with him during the shooting, said that she heard officers order the father of three to put the gun down. Crawford informed police the gun was not real — and then police opened fire.
“And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him.”
Crawford had picked the gun up in the store’s toy department, Ohio is an open carry state, and he was doing nothing wrong — but police say that he ignored their commands to drop the weapon. The person who called them, a former marine, said Crawford “looked like he was going to go violently.”
However, surveillance footage tells a different story, according to attorney Michael Wright. The video has not been released to the public, but Attorney General Mike Dewine allowed the lawyer and Crawford’s family to view the footage.
John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said. He explained that the video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the toy gun like a cane. He was allegedly “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” police response.
“The BB gun was in a down position,” Wright said. “He was kinda using the BB gun as what it looked like was a crutch. He was just leaning on it. And at some point, he raised it up and he was shot and killed. At no point in time was he facing the officers. At no point in time was there any type of suggestive movements or anything like that.”
However, DeWine is not willing to release the video to the public. I thought the family had the right to view it,” DeWine said. “The mom did not want to view it; I understand it. The dad did view it, (but) to put the video out on TV is not the right thing to do.”
DeWine claims that releasing the video would taint the jury pool.
Wright said the family objects to the selective release of evidence. So far, dispatch audio and video on the day of the shooting that has been released, according to the attorney, is biased toward police. “Everything released is one-sided,” Wright said. “There is nothing favorable to John Crawford. You can’t show different pieces, show it all, don’t trickle pieces to gain favor of the public.”
Two Officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. David Darkow and Sean Williams, were placed on paid vacation initially. Darkow has already been permitted to resume his duties. The other officer remains on administrative leave.
A special Grand Jury will meet on September 3 to determine if the officers will be charged.
Watch this report on the shooting, below: