Security Footage Of John Crawford Being Shot May Not Jibe With The Official Version
Remember John Crawford? With the intense amount of scrutiny on the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, it's easy to see how Crawford's depressingly similar story could be overlooked. Earlier this month, John Crawford was shot and killed by police in an Ohio Walmart while holding a pellet rifle. On Tuesday, security footage of Crawford's shooting was finally released to Crawford's family and their attorney.
First, the essential background — Crawford, a 21-year-old father of two, was shopping at the Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio on Aug. 5, and at some point had his eye on a pellet gun, now reported to be a MK-177 pellet/BB rifle. Crawford was reportedly holding the unpackaged gun when another customer called 911, fearful that Crawford was "either going to rob the place, or he’s there to shoot somebody."
The police responded to the scene, and — this is where the order of events gets crucial — Crawford was shot dead, all thanks to a recreational pellet rifle in his hand. A rifle that the Walmart in which the shooting took place sold to customers, no less.
Protesters descended on the office of Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine last week, demanding that security footage of the incident be released. Now it has, but not to the public — only to Crawford's family and their attorney, Michael Wright.
All we know for sure about the tape is what the attorney for Wright has said publicly. Ultimately, where this all goes will be up to a grand jury to decide.
What Wright says he saw on the tape, however, is extreme. According to The Raw Story, Wright said the video showed Crawford doing "nothing more, nothing less than just shopping," talking on his cell phone (to LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his two children, who says she heard Crawford's death over the phone) and leaning on the pellet gun as if it were a cane. Wright states that when police arrived, they gave Crawford no time or opportunity to drop the rifle — his back was to the officers — and that he was "shot on sight."
The public won't get to see the footage and clarify what happened for ourselves. DeWine has already made it clear that it won't be released more broadly.
I thought the family had the right to view it. 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.
Wright has expressed the Crawford family's criticism of the evidence that's been made available so far, including dispatch audio on the day of the shooting.
Everything released is one-sided. 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.
These new revelations are likely to intensify calls for justice for John Crawford. Unlike the ongoing, grueling situation in Ferguson, in which authorities withheld the name of Officer Darren Wilson until after he'd left town, the two officers who could face charges for Crawford's killing are already known — Sergeant David Darkow, who's already returned to duty, and Officer Sean Williams, who's been placed on administrative leave.
One of the two was reportedly involved in another shooting incident back in 2010 — though it was cleared as an act of self-defense — and authorities haven't identified which officer it was.
A grand jury is scheduled to convene on Sept. 22 to consider charges in the case, and Mark Piepmeier has been assigned as a special prosecutor by DeWine. That's not what Wright wants, however — he reportedly believes the case should be turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice.