Once again proving that there is “no justice, just us,” an Ohio grand jury declined to indict two Ohio police officers who shot and killed 22-year-old John Crawford III in a Beavercreek Walmart on Aug. 5, reports WHIO.com.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Crawford, who, according to the mother of his two children, went to the store to buy ingredients for S’mores, was holding a MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle when he was gunned down.
“He looked like he was going to go violently,” said Ronald Ritchie. “If he would have dropped the weapon, he could have came out with his life, but unfortunately, he didn’t.”
Ritchie, the one and only person in Walmart to call 911, later recanted his initial statement to the dispatcher that Crawford was waving the toy rifle around. He also told reporters that Crawford was “pointing at people – children walking by.”
The video proves Ritchie entire account to be false, but no charges have been filed against him.
According to police chief Dennis Evers, Officers Sean Williams and David Darkow acted appropriately when they shot the father of two to death.
“The officers gave verbal commands to the subject to drop the weapon,” Evers said in a statement. “The subject … was shot after failing to comply with the officers’ commands. The quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers.”
But the surveillance video released today tells a different story, one that supports Johnson’s statements.
Crawford can be seen on his cell phone walking around the store, browsing, when he picks up the toy rifle, which according to Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier, had been taken out of its box and left on the shelf.
The toy rifle was at Crawford’s side and he was turned away from police officers when they fired on him.
Crawford immediately dropped the toy rifle and ran for cover. He almost instantly pivots—it appears as if another
armed assailant police officer was approaching from the other aisle—and apparently tries to show the officer that he’s unarmed when the fatal shot is fired.
There is almost no time between when the officer first appears and the first shot is fired. In fact, it appears from the surveillance video that Crawford didn’t even see the shot coming.
John Crawford Shooting [Warning: Graphic Content]
Moments Leading To Crawford’s Slaying
Crawford’s girlfriend Tasha Thomas, who was in the store with him, spoke out against the police killing and says that she feels partially to blame:
“We pay our officers to serve justice. We pay our officers to keep us safe, so what do I tell my kids– that they can’t have a toy gun or a water gun, ’cause if they pick it up someone’s gonna call and say they’re loading it and their gonna kill somebody in the store,” she wondered.
“I wish I never asked him to answer her phone calls, we would be at the house,” explained Thomas.
Thomas is referring to Johnson, who as mentioned above, was on the phone with Crawford during his final moments.
John Crawford’s Girlfriend Speaks Out
Crawford’s family released the following statement:
“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,” the family wrote in a release after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision.
“The undisputed evidence also shows that Officer Sean Williams shot and killed Mr. Crawford while his back was turned and without adequate warning. Needless to say, there was definitely sufficient evidence and probable cause to move forward with criminal charges.”
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio and FBI have announced that they will conduct a “thorough and independent review”of Crawford’s killing and “take appropriate action if the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes.”