On September 24th, 2014 the grand jury decided not to indict the officers involved in the shooting death of John Crawford III. The charges were for murder, reckless homicide, and negligent homicide. Unfortunately, as we see way too often, the officers walked free to live their lives after killing an innocent life. After the controversial decision by the grand jury, the video that the family and hundreds of others including myself, demanded to be released by Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine was finally revealed to the public.
As the family and hundreds of supporters had always asserted, the video showed John Crawford III on his cell phone walking with the gun then observing merchandise on the shelf. At times he had the pellet gun hoisted on his shoulder while majority of the time it was faced down to the ground. Most customers were not alarmed as he clearly was not acting in a violent or threatening manner. Also, Ohio is an open carry state where you are allowed to carry a gun in public.
Ronald Ritchie saw John Crawford, a young black man with a gun and automatically assumed he was a threat. He called 911 and told the operator that Crawford III was “waving the gun around…” and that “he looked like he was loading it…” Shortly after, the police quickly arrived. They approached Crawford by running up on him while his back was turned, and still on his phone, he drops the gun and attempts to run but is shot fatally multiple times.
Men Lie. Women lie. Surveillance cameras don’t lie!
We were told by Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine that the release of this tape was “playing with dynamite…and that dynamite simply is that it blows up and you can’t get a fair trial.” Yet, it is very common to see video footage of people suspected of a crime in the act of the crime and no one ever refrains from releasing the images in fear that those individuals won’t receive a fair trial. Matter of fact, we can see the beheading of American journalists, we have seen loops of Ray Rice punching his fiancé, but we couldn’t see the Walmart tape of Beavercreek police shooting John Crawford III? There is apparent inconsistency in transparency when it comes to civilians and police officers, which appears under Dewines’ administration; police are above the law. Ultimately, we were told a lie.
Ronald Ritchie, a customer out of Walmart called the police and said John Crawford III was waving the gun around and pointing it at customers, but the video does not show John Crawford III ever utilizing the pellet gun in a threatening manner. Again we were told a lie.
What is not a lie is what you saw in the surveillance footage. However, the special prosecution who is just an extension of the Ohio Attorney General, told the public not to believe our lying eyes. We were told to accept that the police are allowed to assume threat without reasoning or confirming a situation is an actual threat. Through the decision by the grand jury we are made to believe police aren’t responsible for making deadly mistakes. If this is true, than as it stands are society allows negligence by an officer even if he or she makes a false assumption. I’m sorry; but the lack of consequences for law enforcement that makes the wrong assumption, which leads to deadly force, is inexcusable.
A few weeks ago, I and hundreds of others gathered at the parking lot of the Beavercreek Walmart, in support of the Crawford family and in protest for John Crawford III to receive justice. I brought my daughter and my sister to the protest to understand the travesty in this matter. I wanted them to know that John Crawford III could be them or anyone we know and love. His life mattered and we have to do something to create change.
I went inside the Walmart where he was gunned down and went down the aisles where he discovered the unpackaged pellet gun. I thought about how he was just minding his own business and nothing could have prepared him from being gunned down. This is terrible! The decision of the grand jury was wrong! I am glad to hear that the FBI and U.S Department of Justice will now investigate the matter. This has been the push by many groups from the local National Action Network to the Dayton NAACP. The fight is not over, but yesterday’s event was just another eye opener that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”-MLK