Shooting of John Crawford III

Shooting of John Crawford III
Walmart surveillance capturing shooting of John Crawford III.png
A surveillance screenshot of Crawford shot by the police
Date August 5, 2014 (2014-08-05)
Location Beavercreek, Ohio, U.S.
Participants
  • John Crawford (shot and killed)
  • Angela Williams (died from heart attack)
  • Two Beavercreek Police Department officers (shooters)
Deaths 2
Charges None filed

The shooting of John Crawford III occurred on August 5, 2014. Crawford was a 22-year-old African-American man shot to death by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams, in a Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio, near Dayton, while holding a toy BB gun.[1][2][3][4][5]

A grand jury declined to indict the two officers on criminal charges. Crawford's death led to protests, including some organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

 
Photo of John Crawford III

John Crawford III was born on July 29, 1992.

ShootingEdit

Crawford picked up an un-packaged BB/pellet air rifle inside the store's sporting goods section and continued shopping in the store. Another customer, Ronald Ritchie, called 911. According to Ritchie at the time, Crawford was pointing the gun at people and at children walking by, and messing with the gun.[6] Ritchie has since stated “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody”, while maintaining that Crawford was "waving it around".[7] Two officers of the Beavercreek Police arrived at the Walmart shortly after their dispatcher informed them of a "subject with a gun" in the pet supplies area of the store and Crawford was shot. He was later pronounced dead at Dayton's Miami Valley Hospital.[8]

A second person, Angela Williams, died after suffering a heart attack while fleeing from the shooting. Her death was ruled a homicide.[9]

Police accountEdit

According to initial accounts from the officers, Crawford did not respond to verbal commands to drop the BB gun/air rifle and lie on the ground, and eventually began to move as if trying to escape. Believing the air-rifle was a real firearm, one of the officers fired two shots into Crawford's torso and arm. He died of his injuries shortly afterwards.[10][11]

Though after the grand jury did not indict the officers involved, a press conference was held where Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier presented the fact that the police officer shot Crawford on sight, as was consistent with their recent training.[12]

Store videoEdit

The shooting was captured by the store's security video camera.[13] Crawford was talking on his cell phone while swinging the BB/Pellet air rifle when he was killed.[14] According to Crawford's mother, the video shows the officers fired immediately without giving any verbal commands and without giving Crawford any time to drop the toy even if he had heard them. [15]

AftermathEdit

The Guardian revealed in December that immediately after the shooting police aggressively questioned Crawford's girlfriend, Tasha Thomas, threatening her with jail time. The interrogation caused her to sob uncontrollably, with hostile questions suggesting she was drunk or on drugs when she stated that Crawford did not enter the store with a gun. She was not yet aware of Crawford's death at the time of the interrogation.[16][17] Thomas died in a car crash months later.[18][19][20]

Following the shooting a grand jury decided not to indict any of the officers involved on charges of either murder, reckless homicide, or negligent homicide.[21][22] The Justice Department is conducting its own investigation.[23][24][25] The officer who shot Crawford was removed from normal duties until the DoJ investigation was complete.[26]

Crawford's mother believes that the surveillance tape shows the police lied in their account of events,[15] and has spoken out against the killing at a "Justice for All" march.[27] The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart and the Beavercreek police department.[28][29]

Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece has proposed a "John Crawford's Law", which would change the way toy guns look to prevent similar tragedies.[30]

The family has created a petition on Change.org to call for the prosecution of the officer involved in the shooting of John Crawford.[31]

Media reactionEdit

The incident received local and international[32][33][34] coverage, in part due to the time of its occurrence; the recent police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent unrest there had attracted public attention, as did the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and the shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland.[35][36][37]

Ohio is an "open carry" state, in which the open carrying of firearms is legal with or without a license, which prompted discussion of gun rights and race.[38]

The Black Lives Matter movement has protested Crawford's death.[39][40]

See alsoEdit

  • Swatting - the dispatching of emergency response teams based on false reports that there is an ongoing critical incident

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Source: Ohio Walmart "gunman" John Crawford, fatally shot by police, was carrying toy rifle - CBS News". Cbsnews.com. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Law Enforcement Tragedies Where Nobody Pays the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Cops shoot and kill man holding toy gun in Wal-Mart". Msnbc.com. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ohio Wal-Mart surveillance video shows police shooting and killing John Crawford III". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ Jon Swaine. "'It was a crank call': family seeks action against 911 caller in Walmart shooting". The Guardian. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Source: Walmart "gunman" was carrying toy rifle". 
  7. ^ "Doubts cast on witness's account of black man killed by police in Walmart". 
  8. ^ Gnau, Thomas (October 14, 2014). "Officer: 'I fired two shots center-mass at (John Crawford III)'". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/new-details-in-deaths-of-2-at-walmart/nhWF3/
  10. ^ "Officer: 'I fired two shots center-mass at (Crawford)'". Daytondailynews.com. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Final autopsy report for John Crawford III". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Walmart grand jury announcement in its entirety" WDTN News
  13. ^ "Ohio Ohio Walmart video reveals moments before officer killed John Crawford". 
  14. ^ "Father of man killed by police in Ohio Wal-Mart says he heard son's dying breaths on phone". Foxnews.com. September 7, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Police officer who shot black man in Walmart lied, victim's mother says". 
  16. ^ "Video shows John Crawford's girlfriend aggressively questioned after Ohio police shot him dead in Walmart". December 14, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Girlfriend of John Crawford, man killed by police in Walmart, dies in car crash". Rawstory.com. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jan/02/girlfriend-john-crawford-dies-car-crash-tasha-thomas.
  19. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/girlfriend-man-killed-cops-walmart-dies-crash-article-1.2064396
  20. ^ http://globalgrind.com/2015/01/02/tasha-thomas-john-crawford-iii-girlfriend-killed-new-years-car-crash-details/
  21. ^ Berman, Mark (September 24, 2014). "No indictments after police shoot and kill man at an Ohio Wal-Mart; Justice Dept. launches investigation". Washington Post. 
  22. ^ "Grand jury issues no indictments in man's fatal shooting at Ohio Wal-Mart". Foxnews.com. September 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  23. ^ Jon Swaine. "US Justice Department to review fatal police shooting of man in Walmart". The Guardian. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  24. ^ "U.S. will review police killing of Ohio man carrying air rifle - LA Times". Latimes.com. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ohio: Justice Department Will Review Shooting of Man by Police in Walmart". The New York Times. September 24, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Officer who shot John Crawford to stay on desk duty". December 12, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Thousands join 'Justice for All' march". Washington Post. December 13, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Family of John Crawford, Man Killed by Police at Ohio Wal-Mart, Files Suit". NBC News. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Family of Ohio man shot and killed in Walmart sue company, police". Reuters. December 16, 2014. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Rep. Alicia Reece to introduce 'John Crawford Law'". wlwt.com. November 24, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Petition - Justice for our son, John Crawford". Change.org. 
  32. ^ "USA: Abschied vom Traum einer postrassistischen Gesellschaft". Zeit.de. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ "VIDEOS. Tirs à tout-va et préjugés raciaux, les défauts qui plombent la police américaine - L'Express". Lexpress.fr. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Hombre muerto en Wal-Mart portaba rifle de aire - Terra España". Noticias.terra.es. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  35. ^ "A look at facts known in fatal police shooting at Ohio Wal-Mart, questions yet to be answered". Foxnews.com. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Ohio Leaders Seek to Improve Police-Community Ties". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Law Enforcement Tragedies Where Nobody Pays the Price". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Do Black People Have Equal Gun Rights?". The New York Times. October 25, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  39. ^ Wallce, Lewis. "Dayton 'Black Lives Matter' protesters to appear in court today". WKSU-FM. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  40. ^ "but john Crawford was shot dead in less than 4 seconds in the Walmart in Ohio. Didn't resist.". Black Lives Matter. Retrieved May 25, 2015.