John Crawford III (1992-2014), father of two, was gunned down by police at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. Crawford was Black, the police officers were White. This was just four days before the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
On August 5th 2014, Ronald Ritchie, a White man at the Walmart, called the police saying that a Black man was loading a gun and pointing it at people, even at children. The police rushed in with assault rifles. They said that Crawford was waving the gun around in a threatening manner and refused to drop it, so they shot him dead.
The gun, it turned out, was a BB gun that he had picked up at the toy department.
Video from security cameras show that he pointed it at no one. When Ritchie said he was pointing it at children, Crawford was swinging it at his side absent-mindedly with the gun pointed at the floor.
When the police arrived he was not threatening anyone with the gun, as police claimed. Instead he was talking on his phone. The moment Crawford knew the police were there he dropped the BB gun. He said, “It’s not real.” They shot him – and then told him to “Get on the ground.”
Open-carry laws: Even if Crawford had had a real gun, he still would not have been breaking the law: Ohio law allows people to openly carry guns. Walmart, the biggest gun seller in the US, works with ALEC, which pushes just such open-carry laws (along with the infamous Stand Your Ground law).
The grand jury: After the police investigated themselves, the grand jury ruled that the police officers had acted reasonably and therefore did not charge them with a crime.
The Justice Department is looking into it.
No one has arrested Ronald Ritchie, the one who called police and flat-out lied about Crawford, getting two people killed. Knowingly “making false alarms” is a crime in Ohio. Crawford’s family is taking him to court.
- James Holmes – compare and contrast: Holmes shoots 70 people, is armed to the teeth, yet police arrested him without firing a shot. Holmes is White and still alive. This was in Colorado, another open-carry state, the scene of the Columbine high school shooting.