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Man shot dead by police in Walmart was carrying toy gun, not facing officers
A man shot dead by police in a U.S. supermarket was killed while facing away from officers after he had picked up a toy gun, according to surveillance footage seen by his family and attorney.
John Crawford was gunned down on August 5 at a Walmart store in Beavercreek, Ohio, after a shopper contacted police to report that he was waving an A5-15 rifle at customers, including children.
But footage of the 22-year-old proves he was in fact holding an unpackaged MK-177 BB rifle he had picked up in the store’s toy department.
Police claim Mr Crawford ignored their commands to drop what they thought was a weapon, and the former Marine who called the police at the time said Crawford ‘looked like he was going to go violently’.
But Mr Crawford’s family attorney, Michael Wright, claims surveillance footage from the incident, which Ohio’s attorney general allowed him to watch with Crawford’s family, contradicted those accounts, The Raw Story reports.
He said: ‘John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping.’
He added that the surveillance video showed Mr Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the BB gun like a cane when he was ‘shot on sight’ in ‘militaristic’ fashion.
This appears to fit with in with the account of LeeCee Johnson, who claims to be the mother of Mr Crawford’s two children.
She said she was speaking to him on the phone when the incident occurred.
She told Dayton Daily News: ‘We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were.
‘And 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.
‘And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.’
Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine, announced yesterday that the case will now be handed to a special prosecutor to present to a grand jury on September 22.
Beavercreek Police and Ohio Attorney General’s Office initially insisted officers at the scene acted appropriately.
After the shooting, Chief Dennis Evers, said: ‘Officers confronted the subject inside the store area near the pet supplies holding a rifle. The officers gave verbal command to the subject to drop the weapon.
‘The subject later identified as John Crawford was shot after failing to comply with the officer’s commands.’
Sergeant David Darkow, one of the officers involved in the shooting, has already been allowed to resume his duties while another officer, Sean Williams, remains on administrative leave.
Mr Crawford’s cousin Lamon Brown says the family has contacted human rights group the NAACP as well as National Action Network.
The family has also asked the U.S. Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation and assess whether the shooting was justified and whether race played a factor.