On August 5, 2014, police shot an unarmed man, 22 year old John Crawford III, in a Walmart in Dayton, Ohio. Recently released video footage shows the moment police killed him.
A 911 call reported on August 5 that a black man was roaming Walmart waving what appeared to be a rifle. After the shooting death of Mr. Crawford, police reported that Crawford repeatedly refused requests by police to put down the apparent rifle.
The recently released Walmart video footage, however, tells a different story. The video shows that Mr. Crawford picked up a BB-gun that was open on a shelf in the sporting goods section, that Mr. Crawford carried the BB-gun around the Walmart store while he continued to shop, that other patrons in the Walmart walked around Mr. Crawford in apparent unconcern, that over eight minutes later (it seems like forever on the surveillance video) someone made a 911 call, police responded to the call, and police then shot Mr. Crawford without ever asking him to put down the BB-gun.
The moment police shot and killed Mr. Crawford for carrying a BB-gun in a Walmart can be seen at time 1:30 in the video excerpt (linked at the bottom of this article). This corresponds to the overall 8:26:56 a.m. time stamp for the surveillance video.
On September 24, 2014, a grand jury reached a finding that the actions of the two officers – both white – was justified in killing Mr. Crawford, who is black. At a press conference after the verdict, the special prosecutor, Mark Piepmeier, justified both the grand jury’s decision and the police killing of Mr. Crawford as being justified based upon statements by the 911 caller that a black man was carrying a loaded assault rifle and was pointing that rifle at people. Piepmeir said that the only standard that applies to police is not what is actually true but solely what they believe to be true.
Piepmeir did concede that Mr. Crawford “did nothing wrong” but did appear to blame Mr. Crawford for “being on the cellphone” and for allegedly “not responding” to police commands to put down his gun. Piepmeir appeared to attempt to bolster the credibility of the mistaken 911 caller by stating the caller was an ex-marie.
After Wednesday’s verdict, Mr. Crawford’s family released a statement. “The Crawford family is extremely disappointed, disgusted and confused,” the release said. “They are heartbroken that justice was not done in the tragic death of their only son.”
Community activities protested the injustice of the decision. “My gut was telling me the right decision was going to be made today. That didn’t happen. My gut was wrong,” said President Derrick Foward, President, Dayton Chapter NAACP. “We are going to strategically organize to ensure that justice is brought about in this case.”
The Crawford family also had to say, “The Walmart surveillance video and eyewitnesses prove that the killing of John H. Crawford, lll was not justified and was not reasonable. It is undisputed that John Crawford, lll was in Walmart as a customer and was not posing a threat to anyone in the store, especially the police officers.”
A University of Dayton law professor, Lori Shaw, justified the grand jury’s decision. “I think in this particular instance, because the police had reason to believe that a weapon was involved, it made it much less likely that there would be a charge,” she said.
Mark DeWine, the Ohio Attorney General, has been criticized by civil rights groups, including the NAACP, for his mishandling of the shooting death of Mr. Crawford.
Another Wal-Mart customer, Angela Williams, 37, went into medical distress during the store’s evacuation and died, becoming a second fatality resulting from the police action.
Watch the video below and share if you care…