BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) — Supporters of John Crawford III rallied outside of the Beavercreek Walmart Saturday seeking
Hundreds carried signs and stood together to show their support for the Crawford family and to call on Ohio’s Attorney General to release the security tapes.
22-year-old John Crawford III was shot and killed on August 5th by the Beavercreek Police Department when two officers responded to a 9-1-1 call, according to police officials.
Police say Crawford was waving a weapon inside the Beavercreek Walmart and refused to drop it on command.
Later, the department reported the weapon was a BB gun.
The family believes Crawford and his friend were at Walmart to buy supplies to make S’mores the night he died.
The family lawyer has stated that the 22-year-oldwas doing nothing wrong when he was shot.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now investigating what happened.
But, many at the rally say they are doubtful in the Attorney General’s process and transparency.
Those at the rally were joined by several organizations, including chapters of Al Sharpton’s group the National Action Network (NAN), Dayton NAACP, AMOS Group, Ohio Student Association, National Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Nation of Islam, Black Brothers and Sisters and the New Black Panther Party.
“We have to know what the truth is before we can say what should happen to these two officers,” explained Bishop Bobby Hilton, president of NAN’s Cincinnati chapter. “We’re not trying to pass judgment; we’re trying to get the truth.”
Those listening were seen raising their fist in the air in support of the speakers.
Women linked arms, as others waved signs calling for the release of the tape and justice in the Walmart shooting of John Crawford III.
Crawford’s aunt was also present; she spoke about his death.
“It’s just unsettling. We don’t have all the answers. We haven’t seen everything and we feel betrayed right now by what has happened,” Sharon Sherron Brown said.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine showed parts of the in-store surveillance footage of the incident to Crawford’s father at Crawford’s attorney’s office, Wright & Shulte, on August 19.
Pastors and leaders agree with Sherron Brown that vital information remains unclear, even after a 5-minute segment of more than 200 cameras was shown to Crawford’s dad.
They say there are questions, but they also believe crucifixion of the officers involved is not the answer.
“We’re pro police, but we want the police to do right. Protect and serve that’s what we want them to do,” a passionate Hilton explained.
While waiting for more released information, leaders say they do know one solution that will hit politicians where it hurts.
Organizers have been encouraging supporters to remember their questions and doubts when they head to the polls for local elections.
They’ve also advised protesters to write letter to officials, including those at the Department of Justice.
Protesters have called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step in, and act if need be.
“When they do the crime, they should do the time,” said Emily Shealey, a Crawford family friend. “All police aren’t bad, but it’s just, I feel the ones that are bad should be punished.”
Protesters like Shirley Richardson McCourt say they want change.
Ricahrdon McCourt has lived in Greene County for 50 years; Beavercreek has been home for a decade.
“It’s appalling to me as a mother to have to say to my child the same things my mother had to say to her sons who are in their 50s who are now having to say those things to their sons. This should not be, not in America. It should not be,” expressed the mother of African-American sons.
Richardson McCourt, like others, believes the pain caused by Crawford’s death is avoidable with better practices.
And loved ones simply want closure for the Crawford family.
“That’s what makes it hurt so bad. They raised him well. You know, no one’s perfect, but he was a very good child. He was a very good child,” said Shealey.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has said he will not release the tape.
Previously, DeWine said, “releasing the surveillance video could raise issues of a tainted jury pool if the case results in a trial.”
A grand jury will decide on September 22nd if the officers involved will be indicted.
Meanwhile, supporters say they will continue to rally behind the Crawford family.
A rally in support of the Beavercreek Police Department will be held Sunday in front of Walmart at 4 p.m.