911 Caller Who SWATted John Crawford May Finally Face Charges

John Crawford III was shot and killed while holding an airsoft rifle while on the phone in a Dayton, Ohio Walmart.
John Crawford III was shot and killed holding a BB gun while talking on the phone in a Dayton, Ohio Walmart.

The favorite tactic of supporters of the radical Coalition to Stop Gun Violence—calling the police on gun owners and misrepresenting them as threats, or “SWATting”—may very well end up putting the man responsible for the deaths of two people in jail.

Ronald Richie called police in Beavercreek, Ohio, when he saw John Crawford III strolling through the store with a BB gun he’d picked up in the sporting goods department while talking to the mother of this soon-to-be-born son.

Richie grossly exaggerated what he saw—frankly, I’d consider some of his exaggerations to be outright lies—and misrepresented Crawford as a possible mass shooter pointing an assault rifle at people while trying to load it.

Beaver Creek police officers shot Crawford virtually on sight, without Crawford apparently even knowing they were there. Beavercreek police then attempted to scapegoat Crawford and bully his pregnant girlfriend. Pathetically, neither the officer who shot Crawford without apparent warning nor the detective who attempted to manufacture a justification for Crawford’s shooting were charged nor fired.

But there may be some slight justice, as the SWATting caller who kicked off this fiasco may finally face some limited justice for his grossly exaggerated 911 call.

Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root ruled that probable cause exists to prosecute the 911 caller in the John Crawford III police-involved fatal shooting after reviewing affidavits submitted by Greene County residents.

Root found probable cause that Ronald T. Ritchie, the lone person to call 911 from Beavercreek’s Walmart before shots were fired Aug. 5, 2014, could be prosecuted for making false alarms, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by maximums of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

There is uncertainty as to what legal steps may happen next, but Root wrote that the case should be referred to a prosecutor.

“He was just waving it at children, people, items, I couldn’t hear anything that he was saying,” Ritchie said then on video, later adding: “When people did look at him, he was pointing the gun at people and everything.”

Root ruled there was not probable cause to issue a criminal complaint against Ritchie for inciting to violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide.

Two people died as a result of Ritchie’s 911 call.

Crawford was the first victim, shot down by officer Sean Williams, who I still think was trigger happy and fired without just cause based upon the security camera footage. Angela Williams, had a heart attack and died in a panicked rush while attempting to evacuate her children from the store after hearing the officer’s shots.

Frankly, I’d like to see intentionally exaggerated calls like Ritchie’s and the SWATting calls touted repeatedly by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence when they merely see a citizen lawfully open carrying upgraded to a felony charge. These intentionally misleading calls they represent a clear threat to public safety, and have led to citizens and law enforcement officers being shot.

Let’s put these scum in jail.