Attorney: John Crawford III shot in back as he talked to girlfriend on cell phone in Walmart
Surveillance video from an Ohio Walmart shows that a man fatally shot by police earlier this month had his back turned to officers and was talking on a cell phone.
John Crawford III died Aug. 5 after Beavercreek police responded to calls of an armed man at the store. Crawford was unarmed at the time of his death –he had a pellet gun with him that he had picked up in the store.
Attorney Michael Wright said that the video, which he was allowed to view with the man’s family, contradicts statements by police and witnesses that Crawford ignored commands to drop the gun and “looked like he was going to go violently.”
“John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said in a statement. He said the 22-year-old father of two was shot “on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police.
LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford’s children, was on the phone with him when he was shot. She told the Dayton Daily News:
“[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… I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
According to the Ohio attorney general’s office, the gun Crawford was holding was an MK-177 BB/pellet rifle also known as a “pump air rifle.”
A special prosecutor is expected to present the case to a grand jury Sept. 22.
One officer involved in the shooting returned to duty last week. The other officer, Sean Williams remains on administrative leave pending the investigation.
Black lives matter.
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