John Crawford was holding a pellet gun when he was gunned down by police officers inside an Ohio Walmart. Crawford’s family says he was gunned down “on sight”, while officers at the scene insist that Crawford refused to drop his weapon. Now a grand jury is reviewing the evidence and will make the final decision as to whether the police behaved properly.
According to local affiliate WHIO, a special grand jury started reviewing evidence this week.
Demonstrators from Ferguson, MO were also in town to show support.
“They have declared war upon brown and black people. We didn’t ask for it. But what do you do when someone declares war upon your kind? You get ready. So I came here to . . . build with some of the organizers who are also seeking the same things we’re seeking in Ferguson. They’re seeking justice. They want answers. We’re building up a national organization of sorts,” Ashley Yates, who lives near Ferguson, told the local news station. She traveled over five hours to be in Ohio for the Crawford case.
Witness Ronald Ritchie called 911 to report that Crawford had a gun and was “pointing it at people” inside the Walmart, but, according to The Guardian, Ritchie has since changed his story:
One month later, Ritchie puts it differently. “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old said, in an interview with the Guardian. He maintained that Crawford was “waving it around”, which attorneys for Crawford’s family deny.
LeeCee Johnson says she heard Crawford tell officers that the gun wasn’t real before they opened fire.
“And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shoοting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him.”