The Ohio police officer who killed John Crawford III in 2014 recently said the slain man was responsible for his own death. Sean Williams, a White officer in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, believed Crawford posed an “imminent threat” when he fatally shot the 22 year old in a Walmart store after a 911 call about a brandished rifle on August 5, 2014, The Associated Press reported.
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“When I first observed John Crawford … he had a rifle in hand about to raise it up,” Williams said in a deposition in a federal lawsuit filed by Crawford’s family. “He had it in a low ready position and he was turning toward us with the rifle, which, at the very least, is an imminent threat to me, which is why I fired the rounds.”
Williams noted that he never saw Crawford point the rifle or threaten anyone. He also never heard anyone screaming, smelled any gunfire or saw anyone running during the shooting incident, which former U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch opened an investigation into over calls against the police brutality of Black men. Though no charges were filed against Williams, Crawford’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The officer’s depositions in the case made it “even more clear to the Crawford family that John never should have been shot and killed,” Michael Wright and Dennis Mulvihill, the Crawfords’ attorneys, said.
Police had heavily relied on the 911 caller who said that Crawford had a rifle, the depositions revealed to the Dayton Daily News. Ronald Ritchie was identified as the caller and faced charges for making false statements in April 2016. Yet, no justice came for Crawford.
Cops also maintained that Crawford didn’t respond to their commands, but acknowledged that the man may have not heard their instructions as he was talking on a cell phone at the time, depositions also stated.
The civil case involving Williams is scheduled for trial next month.
Crawford, along with other slain Black men and women including Eric Garner and Sandra Bland, will be the subjects of an upcoming social justice series on TV One. Two Sides will premiere on January 22.