Aug 27, 2014

LiveLeak-dot-com-200_1409081392-John-Crawford_1409081435.png.resizedAccording to an attorney for the Ohio man’s family, surveillance video appears to show him talking on a cell phone while leaning on a toy gun, facing away from the officers just moments before they shot and killed him in a Walmart.

John Crawford III died Aug. 5 after police were called to Walmart in Beavercreek, near Dayton, by another shopper who reported a man carrying what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle.

The 22-year-old Crawford was instead carrying an unpackaged MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/pellet rifle he picked up in the store’s toy department.

According to the police, Crawford ignored their orders to drop the weapon, and the veteran who called in the report and witnessed the shooting said he “looked like he was going to go violently.” But attorney Michael Wright said that surveillance video from the incident contradicts those accounts.
“John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said.
He said that surveillance video shows Crawford facing away from the police officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” fashion by the police. Ohio AG Mike DeWine announced yesterday that they had handed the case over to a special prosecutor to present to a grand jury in September.
He said that he was glad he had allowed Crawford’s family to see the surveillance video, but that he doesn’t plan to release the video publicly, to avoid tainting the jury pool.
“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.”
But the family’s attorney says that they object to the “piecemeal” release of evidence like the dispatch audio and video from the day of the shooting, which they say is biased toward the 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.” He said the video suggests Crawford probably did not see or hear officers as they arrived.

He was talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend (who was with his parents) when he was shot.

“He said he was at the video games playing videos, and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were,” said LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his two children. “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.” Johnson put the phone on speaker mode, and she and Crawford’s parents heard him die.

“I could hear him just crying and screaming,” Johnson said. “I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”

Sgt. David Darkow, one of the officers involved in shooting Crawford, has already been allowed to resume his duties. The other, however (a Sean Williams), remains on administrative leave.

The family’s attorney wants the Attorney General to turn the case over to the U.S. Department of Justice.Wright called on DeWine to turn over the case to the U.S. Department of Justice.