An attorney for the family of John Crawford III, the man fatally shot by police in an Ohio Walmart store, says surveillance video contradicts the police department's version of events. Officers say Crawford refused to drop the pellet gun he was holding, but the video allegedly shows them gunning him down "on sight."
Crawford, 22, was shopping at the Beavercreek, Ohio store on Aug. 5 when police responded to another customer's report that Crawford was carrying an AR-15 rifle. He was actually holding a pellet air rifle he had just picked up from a shelf in the store's toy department.
Attorney Michael Wright says he viewed surveillance video that shows Crawford was facing away from the cops and talking to his girlfriend on the phone when police spotted him, and didn't have the toy gun raised. He told WDTN Crawford probably didn't see or hear the officers before he was shot.
Police audio and dashcam video, which show how the police responded, but don't provide a visual of the actual shooting, have been released. Police also made available audio of a 911 call from a witness, ex-Marine Ronald Ritchie, who said he saw a man "walking around with a gun in the store" and pointing it at two children.
Ritchie claimed the gun was a black rifle, and said "he's loading it right now." Later in the call, he wasn't so sure, saying, "He looked like he was trying to load it, I don't know."
Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine says the video of Crawford's death, viewed by attorneys and his family, won't be made public.
Hamilton County prosecutors will take Crawford's case to a grand jury Sept. 22. One of the Beavercreek police officers who shot him is on administrative leave; the other has been allowed to return to duty.