The family of an unarmed man who was fatally shot by police in an Ohio Wal-mart last week is demanding the retailer release surveillance video footage of the events that led to his death.
John Crawford III, a father or two, was killed just days before police shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
Wal-Mart has released the footage to the Ohio Attorney General’s office, but has refused to release it to Crawford’s family.
[…] Brown and and Crawford’s deaths have re-ignited a national conversation about police brutality and racial profiling – and whether the tactics of law enforcement authorities have gone too far.
Crawford, 22, was at a Wal-Mart store in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio last week. Hereportedly picked up a toy rifle within the store and was carrying it around the store while talking on his cell phone, which alarmed other shoppers who called the police. The police station reports that when officers arrived, they asked Crawford to put down the weapon, and opened fire when he failed to comply. He later died of his gun shot wounds at a nearby hospital, where his death was ruled a homicide by the Montgomery County coroner’s office. Family members of Crawford told local news that he entered the store unarmed, and picked up a toy gun or BB gun while browsing in the store.
Crawford family attorney Michael Wright told MSNBC that Wal-mart has ignored their request for the footage to be released, despite handing it over to the Ohio attorney general’s office.
“At this point I still have not been given authority, reason, or access to the video,” Wright told MSNBC. “I’ve contacted the Ohio attorney general’s office to determine what action they’ve taken, and if they have viewed the video. I haven’t gotten any answer. The response is, this is still under investigation.”
Jill Del Greco, a public information officer for the Ohio attorney general’s office said they will not be releasing footage to the family or to the media until the investigation is completed. She also confirmed that Crawford’s family did request the footage from Wal-mart, and that the retailer refused to hand it over to them.
Crawford’s death has become a national conversation about racial profiling and excessive force. His death is one of a series of killings, including the shooting deaths of Jonathan Ferrell, Renisha McBride and Jordan Davis.
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Crawford’s death has become part of a national conversation about excessive force and racial profiling that was ignited with the killing of Trayvon Martin and has been revived this summer after a series of deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police. Crawford’s killing happened on Tuesday, August 5, just four days before police shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and just a few weeks after New York City police killed Eric Garner after placing him in a chokehold for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.
In the four days since Michael Brown’s killing, Americans across the country have weighed in, and protesters in St. Louis have demanded answers from the Ferguson police about why the police shot an unarmed teenager. Even President Obama has weighed in, calling Brown’s killing “heartbreaking.”