A grand jury began hearing evidence Monday in the racially charged case of a fatal shooting inside an Ohio Wal-Mart store.
A timetable has not been made public on how long it will take to present evidence to Greene County jurors or how long it may take them to make a decision on whether the police officer should face charges in the shooting death of 22-year-old John Crawford III.
Some 20 people were outside the courthouse Monday morning to pray for “a peaceful process.” Dozens of others gathered outside the Wal-Mart store in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek and later walked about 11 miles to the courthouse in Xenia for an afternoon rally where several speakers called for “justice for John Crawford.”
Crawford, who was black, was shot by police Aug. 5 while holding an air rifle his family said he’d taken off a store shelf. Two white police officers responded to a 911 call reporting a man waving a gun. Police have said Crawford was shot after he didn’t obey the officers’ commands to put the weapon down.
Crawford’s family said he was there shopping and did nothing to warrant being shot.
Crawford’s family, along with the president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and other civil rights leaders, have pushed for public release of store surveillance video.
But State Attorney General Mike DeWine has refused to release it, saying it could compromise the investigation and taint a potential jury pool. The family is also demanding that federal authorities investigate whether race played a role in the shooting.
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