1 Year Later: #JusticeforJohnCrawford
One year ago today, John Crawford III lost his life while doing a very routine thing: shopping in Walmart.
He wasn’t causing a disturbance. He wasn’t shoplifting. He was simply shopping.
But for a Black man living in America, even picking up a few items at your local store can be dangerous.
On August 5, 2014, the 22-year-old father of two picked up an un-packaged BB/pellet gun inside of the Walmart near Dayton, Ohio near the sporting goods section. Another customer, later identified as Ronald Ritchie, called 911.
Two members of the Beavercreek Police force, Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David M. Darkow, arrived at the Walmart shortly after being informed of a “subject with a gun.” Crawford was shot soon after the officers arrived and pronounced dead at Miami Valley Hospital.
Ritchie said Crawford pointed the gun at people as they walked by. He later recanted his statement, telling officials that “at no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody.” Video footage supports Ritchie’s second claim.
Officers said they repeatedly told Crawford to put the gun down and shot him when he turned toward them “in an aggressive manner.” Video footage of the incident shows no such a thing.
Crawford was shot within :20 seconds of police arriving.
Still, a special grand jury decided not to indict the officers.
His shooting death came just four days before that of Mike Brown, an 18-year-old teen gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ohio’s an open carry state, but the law didn’t save Mr. Crawford. The deaths of several men and women of color who came after Crawford III: Tamir Rice, Samuel DuBose, Jonathan Ferrell, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland to name a few, further amplifies the feeling that many Blacks possess, one of second-class citizenship.
While the Justice Department is currently looking into the incident, not much has happened since then in terms of the investigation.
Local activists are still calling for justice for John Crawford III.
We should too.