The family of John Crawford, a Walmart customer gunned down seemingly without warning by Beavercreek, Ohio police this past summer, is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit on his behalf.
The family of a black man fatally shot by a white police officer as he held an air rifle inside a Wal-Mart filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday charging negligence and violation of the man’s civil rights.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Dayton against the city of Beavercreek in suburban Dayton, the two Beavercreek officers involved, the police chief and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
John Crawford III was shot Aug. 5 inside the store in the Dayton suburb. Police responded after a 911 caller reported Crawford was waving what appeared to be a firearm.
A grand jury concluded the shooting was justified.
“All we want is justice for John Crawford,” the family’s attorney, Michael Wright said at a news conference Tuesday.
Crawford’s family has said previously that it was “incomprehensible” that officers weren’t indicted. The family has sought a federal investigation to see if race was a factor, and the U.S. Justice Department has been reviewing the shooting.
There have been a number of shootings of black men by police this year. Five if these instances have been relatively high-profile.
Vonderitt Myers, Jr.
In each and every one of these encounters the officers involved had little choice but to open fire.
Brown tried to kill a police officer with his own gun, and then charged him. Myers opened fire on an officer pursuing him. Hunt swung a sword at a police officer, and then ran towards a restaurant full of people. Powell called the police himself and then advanced on officers with an exposed knife in what appeared to be a “suicide by cop.” Rice inexplicably pulled a realistic airsoft pistol on a police officer, forcing the officer to fire in self-defense.
But John Crawford was not charging, shooting, slashing, stabbing, or pulling a weapon when Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams shot him dead.
John Crawford was shot while talking on the phone, holding a BB gun in one hand that was pointed at the floor.
Beavercreek police have tried to claim that Crawford was shot when he refused to listen to repeated commands, and then turned towards officers in an aggressive manner.
Those claims run counter to video cameras that captured the shooting, which showed officer Williams “slicing the pie” with an AR-15 as he turned a corner, then shooting Crawford virtually on sight. Crawford never turned until bullets struck his body.
Not content with gunning down Crawford, a Beavercreek police detective then attempted to scapegoat him, bullying his girlfriend, threatening her with arrest and asserting she was high as they tried to get her to claim Crawford had a gun before entering Walmart.
How is this not unethical? How is this attempt by a detective to bully a relative of a man gunned down by police a not a major news story?
It’s stunning that while agitators and activists claiming “Black lives matter” try to canonize criminals like Michael Brown, they’ve largely ignored the killing of John Crawford.
Curiously, the family’s civil right lawsuit does not name Ronald Ritchie, the 911 caller who brought police to the store with a grossly exaggerated tale that sometimes verged into outright fabrication.
In our estimation, Ritchie, like Officer Williams, should be facing charges for Mr. Crawford’s death.
Hopefully a federal case will be able to obtain justice where Ohio’s criminal justice system has so clearly failed to do its job.