Surveillance video from an Ohio Walmart shows that a man fatally shot by police earlier this month had his back to officers and was talking on a cell phone, an attorney for the man's family says.
John Crawford III died Aug. 5 after Beavercreek police responded to reports of an armed man at a Dayton-area Walmart. Crawford was not armed -- he had a pellet gun with him, which he had picked up in the store's toy department.
Attorney Michael Wright said that the video, which he was allowed to view with the man's family, contradicts statements by police and witnesses that Crawford ignored commands to drop the gun and “looked like he was going to go violently.”
“John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said in a statement. He said the 22-year-old father of two was shot "on sight" in a "militaristic" response by police.
LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford's children, was on the phone with him when he was shot. She told the Dayton Daily News:
"[The] next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him... I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
The Ohio attorney general’s office said that the gun Crawford was carrying was an MK-177 BB/pellet rifle, also known as a “variable pump air rifle.”
A special prosecutor is scheduled to present the case to a grand jury Sept. 22, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.
Beavercreek Police Sgt. David Darkow, one officer involved in the shooting, returned to duty last week. The other officer, Sean Williams, remains on administrative leave.
One of the officers in Crawford's death was involved in a 2010 shooting that was ruled self-defense, according to the Associated Press. Authorities would not confirm which officer it was.
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