John Crawford

Submitted by on Sep 17, 2015

John Crawford’s death still under review one year after fatal police shooting

A year after John Crawford III, a 22-year-old black man, was killed by a white police officer while carrying an air rifle in an Ohio Walmart. a federal review of the case remains unfinished. As the region grapples with the aftermath of a different deadly police shooting, Crawford’s relatives plan an anniversary vigil to keep his case in the news.

Crawford III was shot on 5 August 2014, in suburban Dayton, after a 911 caller reported seeing someone at the store waving a gun. A local grand jury concluded the shooting was justified, but his family contends he was shot without a chance to respond to police.

The case and others that followed – including the deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown days later in Ferguson, Missouri, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland in November – have fueled a national dialogue about police use of force, especially by white officers against blacks.

This week, attention again turned to southwest Ohio after a now-fired University of Cincinnati police officer who shot an African American man, Samuel DuBose. during a traffic stop pleaded not guilty to murder.

“It does not appear that anything has changed for the better in this past year – that we’re still having a lot of police-involved shootings of young black men,” said Michael Wright, an attorney for the Crawford family.

The family wants to see charges filed and plans to voice that call as they mark the anniversary with a rally and prayer vigil on Wednesday at Dayton’s courthouse square.

The civil rights division of the Justice Department, the FBI and the US attorney’s office responsible for the Dayton area are reviewing what happened, said Jennifer Thornton, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office. She said a “review of the facts and circumstances” was continuing but she could not provide a timeline for its completion.

Crawford’s relatives have said they hoped the federal review would include analysis of whether race was a factor in the case. Crawford was black; the two officers who confronted him are white.

The shooting was captured on surveillance video by cameras inside the Beavercreek store, but the footage did not include sound.

Police said Crawford appeared to have a real weapon and was shot when he did not respond to orders to drop it. Investigators later determined the Fairfield man was talking on a cellphone and holding an air rifle that he had picked up from a store shelf.

Crawford’s relatives and their attorneys have argued he was “shot on sight”.

The family filed a federal lawsuit against Beavercreek police and Walmart, alleging negligence and violation of Crawford’s civil rights. The city and Walmart have denied the allegations.

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John CrawfordJohn Crawford
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