John Crawford Update

[Content Note: Racism; guns; police brutality.]

Earlier this month, I wrote about John Crawford, the 22-year-old black man in Ohio who was killed by police in a Walmart after another customer called 911 to report a man waving an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, even though Crawford was actually holding a BB/pellet rifle which is sold at the store. The original police account was this:
"The officers gave verbal commands to the subject to drop the weapon," [police chief Dennis Evers] said in a statement. "The subject … was shot after failing to comply with the officers' commands. The quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers."
LeeCee Johnson, who was on the phone with Crawford at the time, said she heard "the police start shooting, and they said 'Get on the ground,' but he was already on the ground because they had shot him."

So, right from the start, there was a conflicting account with what the police were claiming.

Now, Michael Wright, the attorney for Crawford's family, says that surveillance video from the incident, made available to Wright and Crawford's family for viewing by the Ohio's attorney general, also contradicts the police account.
"John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping," Wright said.

The attorney said surveillance video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was "shot on sight" in a "militaristic" response by police.

...He said the video suggests Crawford probably did not see or hear officers as they arrived.
Although an investigation by a special prosecutor is underway, the police officers are not under arrest, and one of the officers involved is already back on duty.

And, just like in Ferguson, "evidence" is being released piecemeal to the public, in a way that favors police:
Wright said the family objected to the piecemeal release of evidence, such as dispatch audio and video on the day of the shooting, was biased toward the police.

"Everything released is one-sided," Wright said. "There is nothing favorable to John Crawford. You can't show different pieces, show it all, don't trickle pieces to gain favor of the public."
Meanwhile, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the surveillance video will not be released to the public, "to avoid tainting the jury pool." Without, of course, a trace of irony that withholding it taints the jury pool, too, but in a way that facilitates the posthumous criminalization of another black man killed by police.

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