While there is still a lot of work to do in Beavercreek, Ohio, hundreds of concerned citizens have forced the police and state to release the Walmart security video of the John Crawford shooting to be shown to Crawford’s lawyers and family. While many have noted the release of the video to the Crawford family lawyer, few outside of the Dayton, Ohio area know about the grassroots activism that forced the video to be released.
John Crawford, 22, was on the phone with the mother of his child at the time police shot him dead on August 5, 2014. Our reporters were on the scene within minutes of the shooting, interviewing Walmart shoppers and employees.
The woman who Crawford was on the phone with, LeeCee Johnson, said Crawford went to the area to visit family members.
“We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were. And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him,” she said, adding: “And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
The video shown to Crawford’s family lawyer proves that he was not pointing the toy gun at police, nor at other shoppers. That story was a lie, plain and simple. Still, Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers refused to answer any questions about what happened, except to say that his officers “acted appropriately.”
Since the shooting, hundreds have gathered for protests, vigils and marches, demanding that the tape be released, and the officers involved in this shooting be arrested and charged in this unjustifiable shooting. In fact, it was only days after hundreds of concerned citizens marched to the Beavercreek Police Department, delivering a letter demanding as much, that the video was shown to the family and lawyers for the Crawford family.
Attorney Michael Wright said: “We need Mike DeWine to refer this case to the Department of Justice. Not to a special prosecutor.”
Wright explained that Crawford did nothing wrong in Walmart, whatsoever. He was doing “nothing more, nothing less than shopping.”
Wright was shown store surveillance video of the shooting incident, said Crawford was talking on the phone, holding the butt of the gun with the barrel pointed at the floor, never pointing it at anyone. Still, Wright continued, Crawford was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by Beavercreek police.
If you agree that the community action which prompted the release of this footage to Wright and the Crawford family should just be the start, and that the other demands of the concerned citizens and of Crawford’s family are legitimate, then help us get the word out about this racist and militaristic police shooting of an innocent African American.
The Beavercreek police have a long history of racism, and attacking the poor. This is the same city which tried to prohibit bus stops from downtown Dayton, so that “undesirables” would not find their way into the Fairfield Commons Mall, just across the street from the Walmart in question.
After you SPREAD THE WORD, contact the Beavercreek Police Department and DEMAND justice for John Crawford!
Beavercreek Police Department
1388 Research Park Dr
Beavercreek, OH 45432
(Article by Shante Wooten; all images via Andrew-Bryce Photography)