Regarding the Killing of John Crawford III in a Wal-Mart Store in Ohio: Should the Police Officer Who Shot Him Have Been Indicted?

John Crawford III

John Crawford III

By Elaine Magliaro

Previously, I wrote a post titled The Killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and John Crawford III: It’s Not about Race…It’s Never about Race!. John Crawford III, an African American, was shot and killed by a white police officer inside a Wal-Mart store in Beavercreek, Ohio, on August 5, 2014, “after a caller phoned police to accuse him of brandishing a gun and pointing it at other customers.” At one point during his conversation with the police dispatcher, the caller even claimed that Crawford had “just pointed it at like two children.” Crawford was actually holding a BB gun that he had taken off a shelf in the store. Democracy Now! has reported that newly released surveillance footage “shows major discrepancies between a 911 caller’s account, and what really happened.” Crawford didn’t appear to point the BB gun at anyone in the surveillance footage that was released.

Wal-Mart Surveillance Video of John Crawford III Shooting

A grand jury in Ohio has declined to indict the police officer who fatally shot the 22-year-old Crawford. Crawford’s father said yesterday that he believes that his son was murdered. During a news conference, John Crawford Jr. said that “he was appalled the officers weren’t indicted.” He added, “The officer went in and virtually shot him on sight. He did not have a chance.” Crawford said he welcomed an announced U.S. Justice Department probe into his son’s death.

According to Huffington Post, Stacey DeGraffenreid, who assisted special prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said that “Crawford was shot twice by one officer, once in the elbow and once in the side under the rib area slightly from the front to the back…” HuffPo also reported that Crawford’s father and attorneys for the family said that the “surveillance video shows the shooting was unreasonable”—and that they “contend Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Piepmeier were biased and set out to defend the police.”

Yesterday, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) talked with Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, a national organization that campaigned for Wal-Mart to release the surveillance tapes, and James Hayes, founding member of the Ohio Student Association, which has been organizing protests over the shooting.

Watch the following Democracy Now! program.

No Charges in Ohio Police Killing of John Crawford as Wal-Mart Tape Contradicts 911 Caller’s Account

Do you think the officer was justified in shooting John Crawford III? Do you think officer should have been indicted?

SOURCES

No Charges in Ohio Police Killing of John Crawford as Wal-Mart Video Contradicts 911 Caller Account (Democracy Now!)

New Video Shows John Crawford Fatally Shot By Police In Walmart (Huffington Post)

Father Of John Crawford III: Police Murdered My Son At Ohio Wal-Mart (Huffington Post)

No indictments after police shoot and kill man at an Ohio Wal-Mart; Justice Dept. launches investigation (Washington Post)

Dueling demands in Walmart shooting case (WDTN)

The Killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and John Crawford III: It’s Not about Race…It’s Never about Race! (Flowers for Socrates)

This entry was posted in Courts, DOJ, Law Enforcement, Racism, Society, United States and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Regarding the Killing of John Crawford III in a Wal-Mart Store in Ohio: Should the Police Officer Who Shot Him Have Been Indicted?

  1. randyjet says:

    Not only should the officer have been indicted, but he should have been indicted for murder. Absent that, if it had been a relative of mine, there would be a lot of dead cops in that town if the system allows this travesty to happen.

  2. bigfatmike says:

    If the facts stand up to scrutiny the caller should be indicted for filing a false report, and if there were any justice in life, for felony murder as well.

    But as they say, fair has got nothing to do with it.

  3. Mike Spindell says:

    Had the man carrying the air rifle been white this wouldn’t have happened. The police are being trained to shoot first, ask questions later and we are seeing the results. The abuse and killing of people of color has a long legacy in this country, yet there seems to be a strong sense of denial of this truth by many people.

  4. Bob Kauten says:

    It’s never about race. No less an authority with street cred than Chief Justice Roberts says we’re beyond racial problems.
    Who you gonna believe, Roberts, or some dead guy at the Walmart?

  5. Elaine M. says:

    What killed John Crawford: How terrible police training is destroying America
    Local cops were trained to immediately “engage” an “active shooter” suspect. But a dishonest witness set him up
    http://www.salon.com/2014/09/26/terrible_police_training_and_a_lying_911_caller_killed_john_crawford/

    Excerpt:
    Another day, another troubling video of police killing an unarmed black man . Or so it seems. But the horrific South Carolina video released Wednesday, in which a cop shot Levar Jones while he was reaching for his license, as he was asked to do — was the first recent case in which the officer was disciplined: not only fired, but charged with assault, appropriately.

    Stark video evidence helps account for the difference in the treatment of Jones’s police assailant and the cops who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, choked Eric Garner in Staten Island and gunned down Ezell Ford in Los Angeles. But what about John Crawford III, the young father shot by police in a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart holding a toy gun? Newly released video is almost as stark as in the Jones case. It shows the police opened fire on Crawford immediately, even though the gun he held was fake and he wasn’t pointing it at anyone. Yet a grand jury declined to bring charges against the officers involved.

    There are two main reasons for that. One, a young white wannabe Marine, 24-year-old Ronald Ritchie, lied to a 911 dispatcher and claimed Crawford was pointing his gun at other shoppers, including children. He would later, in a television interview, make the false claim that Crawford had also aimed the gun at police. Ritchie should clearly be prosecuted.

    But another reason the cops weren’t charged is the fact that they did exactly what they were trained to do, from authorities starting with Ohio’s Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine. The Guardian’s Jon Swaine got ahold of a Power Point used to train Beavercreek police officers, just two weeks before they killed Crawford, in what to do when faced with an “active shooter threat.”

  6. po says:

    Mike said it, had the guy been white, he would not have been shot.
    It isn’t new, black men are legitimate target for suspicion, demonization, fear and the shoot on sight activity that follows those three, and it has been so throughout our history. Since the first black man landed on these shores, the politics of making him the other, the lesser has built and sustained the development of this country.
    Whether it is through the biblical readings that frame it, the constitutional framework that enshrine it, the social structure that establishes it or the economical framework that extends it, it is the same war between the powers that be and the other, the lesser.
    We do not even realize it, but we are just like children who create a monster, put it under the bed and in the closet, go around fearing it and looking for it, flesh it and clothe and make it real enough to occupy their mind, never to leave. it is so about the black man, and it is so too about the “terrorist”.
    I hate to play the politics of race, hate it. My wife sees it way before I ever do, and even then I always give the cop, the waitress, the driver, the school official…the benefit of the doubt. But I must acknowledge it, it is not random, not coincidental, John Crawford in Ohio, Mike Brown in Missouri, the kid shot over the seat belt, the woman punched out in LA, Trayvon Martin…the kid in Utah over the fake samurai sword, …etc etc…
    My sister was just telling me how aware she has become of the high potential of being shot built into every interaction with the cops. She said she never thought about it, but she is now freaked out about the randomness of it all, people get shot for absolutely doing nothing wrong.
    I felt the need to have the talk with my son, but am not sure what to tell him. Before, I would have said :when a cop stops you, comply with everything. Now even full compliance doesn’t guarantee safety.
    I do hope that when the “mob” torches the slums and it catches on and burns down the city and the country, that we have the decency to not blame them for being violent.

  7. buckaroo says:

    The problem here is once again perspicacity & premiss of Government employees Their actions are a constant purport of selfish behavior

  8. Bob Kauten says:

    Is that a brand-new thesaurus you’re holding?

  9. bettykath says:

    Information from Ferguson

    Police chief in first interview said the distance was 30 feet. So why was Wilson such a poor shot? ’cause it was really 100 feet.

    https://storify.com/VeryWhiteGuy/shaunking-exposes-ferguson-pd-lie-about-distance-f

  10. pete says:

    Bob

    A Thesaurus Rex.

  11. Mike Spindell says:

    “It isn’t new, black men are legitimate target for suspicion, demonization, fear and the shoot on sight activity that follows those three, and it has been so throughout our history. Since the first black man landed on these shores, the politics of making him the other, the lesser has built and sustained the development of this country.”

    Po,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. This attitude and behavior towards Black people is one of the things that most upset me about America and its way of life. While the Civil Rights Movement accomplished many important things sadly it only forced Jim Crow underground replaced by many mealy euphemisms for Jim Crow activity. It is astonishing to me (i guess not really as a psychotherapist) that people who are bigots are yet in denial of their own bigotry. It is true that much of these police situations involve officers who have been inculcated into.a culture that perceives Black people as generally threatening and so perceive that “shooting first” is self preservation. The officers, though many may be personally repugnant exist as victims to, swept up in a system that tells them their job is to repress the dangers of Black people. For so many years knowing, being friends with, working with and for people of color They were no different for me than any other human beings. Many unfortunately have learned to de-humanize them which is a direct result of ongoing prejudice fostered by media operations run by people who are ignorant of their own “White Privileged” mindset.

  12. Carlyle Moulton says:

    In all of these police shootings of black men there is a complete disconnect between the mental processes of the police and victim. The police shout some orders and expect instant compliance as if the intended recipient is a trained soldier obeying the orders of his sergeant and if the recipient does not obey within a short timeout, the police feel entitled to assume that the about to become victim is a mortal danger to them and is fair game for being gunned down. There is a difference between the victim and the soldier. The soldier has been drilled in the commands that the sergeant will shout so he can understand and comply almost instantly the response of the victim is likely to be on the lines of “Uh What?”.

    If the victim is to obey the policeman’s commands he must first hear them but if he is deaf or concentrating on a mobile phone conversation he may not do so, if he does he may not understand them and assuming he does understand he may not assume that they relate to him. People who have no consciousness of being engaged in crime do not expect police to be shouting at them and if understanding that they are so shouting may be overcome by a feeling of righteous indignation that the police have wrongly classified them as law breakers and may try to tell the police that they are making a mistake, but when the police in full control freak mode they will not hear anything that the shoutee is saying, the attempt to get information into their brains is seen as impertinence, contempt of cop.

    The idea that if police are following procedures they are immune from prosecution is as silly as the idea the Nazis who were just following orders should be immune from prosecution. Supposedly police have brains they should be able to judge when just following procedures will result in their committing a crime.

  13. blouise says:

    “Supposedly police have brains they should be able to judge when just following procedures will result in their committing a crime.” (Carlyle Moulton)

    Carlyle Moulton’s comments are chocked-full of good, old-fashioned, common sense.

  14. Mike Spindell says:

    Carlyle,

    Elegantly put as a summary of police psychology.

  15. Bob Kauten says:

    Carlyle,
    Your analysis of the social situation is correct. Great insight.

  16. Carlyle Moulton says:

    Incidentally, Australia has reason to be proud of its police for their restraint in a situation of real as opposed to perceived danger. Two Australian police officers did not shoot Numan Haider dead until he had stabbed one of them 3 times and the other once. Had they been US police they would have shot him if his hand twitched towards his waist band even had he been unarmed.

    Grotesque absurdities such as the murder of John Crawford III do occur in Australia but at nothing like the frequency of similar events in the US, even when one takes the differences in population into account.

  17. Mike Spindell says:

    Carlyle,

    Perhaps that is because in Australia you’re not training and equipping your police to deal with all situations as if they require SWAT Teams.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.