From [HERE] A jury trial is scheduled Feb. 4 in the wrongful death lawsuit over a white police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man in an Ohio Walmart who was carrying an air rifle he picked up from a shelf. Ohio is an open carry state - for white folks.
Crawford picked up an un-packaged BB/pellet air rifle from a display inside the store's sporting goods section and continued shopping in the store. Another customer, Ronald Ritchie, a racist suspect, called 911. According to Ritchie, Crawford was pointing the gun at people and at children walking by, and messing with the gun. All of the statements were lies or inaccurate statements.
Security camera footage showed that Crawford was talking on his cellphone and holding the B.B. gun as he shopped, but at no point did he aim the B.B. gun at anyone. His family said he was talking to the mother of his two children. Crawford continues to walk through Wal-Mart aisles and passes by other customers, who do not appear to react to his presence.
After the security camera footage was released, Ritchie recanted his statement that led to the fatal shooting and stated, "At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody", while maintaining that Crawford was "waving it around". Two white officers of the Beavercreek Police arrived at the Walmart shortly after their dispatcher informed them of a "subject with a gun" in the pet supplies area of the store.
The video shows Crawford continuing through the store. He paused at some store shelves, and it appears he’s still on the phone, fiddling with the gun as it swings, pointed toward the ground. Then, police enter the frame to his side; you can see Crawford turn his head, fall to the ground, scramble in the other direction, then turn back around before ultimately falling to the ground. It’s unclear whether he dropped the gun before being shot or after.
Sean Williams, one of the two police officers that arrived, shot Crawford in the arm and chest. He was later pronounced dead at Dayton's Miami Valley Hospital.
According to Crawford's mother, the video shows the officers fired immediately without giving any verbal commands and without giving Crawford any time to drop the BB gun even if he had heard them.
The Guardian revealed that immediately after the shooting, police aggressively questioned Crawford's girlfriend, Tasha Thomas, threatening her with jail time. The interrogation caused her to sob uncontrollably, with hostile questions suggesting she was drunk or on drugs when she stated that Crawford did not enter the store with a gun. She was not yet aware of Crawford's death at the time of the interrogation. Thomas died in a car crash months later.
Following the shooting a grand jury decided not to indict any of the officers involved on charges of either murder, reckless homicide, or negligent homicide.
Lead prosecutor Mark Piepmeier, also a racist suspect, said that the case revolved around whether Crawford obeyed police orders to drop the gun. “Was the officer reasonable to think himself or someone else would receive physical harm?” Piepmeier said at a news conference, the Enquirer reported. “The law says police officers are judged by what is in their mind at the time. You have to put yourself in their shoes at that time with the information they had.”
Less than two weeks before the incident Officer Williams and others received what prosecutors called a “pep talk” on how to deal aggressively with suspected gunmen. Williams and his colleagues in Beavercreek, a suburb of Dayton, were shown a slideshow invoking their loved ones and the massacres at Sandy Hook, Columbine and Virginia Tech while being trained on 23-24 July on confronting “active shooter situations”.
“If not you, then who?” officers were asked by the presentation, alongside a photograph of young students being led out of Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012. A caption reminded the trainees that 20 children and five adults were killed before police arrived.
The white prosecutor then took the unusual step of presenting the set of 11 slides from a presentation given to officers in the July session and other evidence to a grand jury in Greene County. Piepmeier signaled that the slides may have been important to the decision. “A question I have, and I think a jury would have, is how are the officers trained to deal with a situation like that,” he told reporters. [wha? does that sound like he wanted to prosecute the cop?]
He described the presentation as “almost like a pep talk for police officers,” which informed them: “You have to go after these things, you can’t ignore them”. They were told to rid themselves of the mindset that “it’s a bad day to be a cop” when confronting people who “have used, are using or are threatening to use a weapon to inflict deadly force on others”. [MORE]
“And that was, really, the question for this jury,” said the special prosecutor. “Looking at everything, was the officer reasonable in thinking that either himself or someone else was going to receive death or serious bodily harm”. [MORE]
Crawford’s family released a statement after the grand jury decision: “The Wal-Mart surveillance video and eyewitnesses prove that the killing of John H. Crawford III was not justified and was not reasonable. It is undisputed that John Crawford III was in Wal-Mart as a customer and was not posing a threat to anyone in the store, especially the police officers.”
Crawford's mother believes that the surveillance tape shows the police lied in their account of events, and has spoken out against the killing at a "Justice for All" march. The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart and the Beavercreek police department. [MORE]
The Justice Department conducted its own investigation. White prosecutors at the Justice Department declined to issue charges against the white officer.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman, racist suspect in photo, said they found insufficient evidence to pursue charges against Beavercreek police Officer Sean Williams, who fired the fatal shot. They said investigators analyzed store surveillance video using resources at the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, interviewed witnesses and used an independent crime scene reconstruction expert in their review.
"The government would be required both to disprove his (Williams') stated reason for the shooting — that he was in fear of death or serious bodily injury — and to affirmatively establish that Officer Williams instead acted with the specific intent to violate Mr. Crawford's rights," they said in a statement, adding that the evidence "simply cannot satisfy those burdens."
The Dayton Daily News reports lawyers for Crawford’s family and Walmart each requested summary judgment, arguing some claims can be decided in their favor from the facts, without trial.
The requests are in front of U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice, who could decide as soon as Friday if the case proceeds. Rice is also white.
Rice will decide on motions for summary judgment filed by Walmart in December and by Beavercreek in June 2018. The defendants make different cases and are not allied in their arguments.
“Crawford picked up an air rifle in the Beavercreek Walmart but was not shot merely because he was holding the air rifle,” Walmart’s motion for summary judgment reads. “Either there was police misconduct, or Crawford’s acts, combined with a blatantly false 911 call and inaccurate dispatch, caused the police to pull the trigger.
“There is simply no evidence that the decision to pull the trigger, even after the air rifle was mistaken for a real firearm, was foreseeable in an open carry state where Crawford could lawfully carry a real firearm.