An Ohio city has spent more than $430,000 defending two officers in connection with the fatal police shooting of a man at a Walmart who was carrying an air rifle from a store shelf.
The cost to the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek includes about $210,000 paid to two law firms, according to Dayton Daily News.
The city’s law director says outside counsel was necessary to defend Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow.
The officer fatally shot father-of-two John Crawford III in 2014 after a 911 call about someone waving a rifle at the Walmart.
Police say he didn’t obey commands to drop what later turned out to be an air rifle.
Mr Crawford was shot in the arm and torso by Officer Williams and was taken to Dayton’s Miami Valley Hospital where he later died.
Following the shooting, a grand jury decided not to indict any of the officers involved on charges of either murder, reckless homicide, or negligent homicide.
A federal probe for any possible civil rights violations is continuing and could go on for years.
The city paid significantly more in legal fees for Sgt. Darkow spending more than $178,000 – 5.5 times the $32,000 paid for Officer Williams.
The Crawford family’s attorney Michael Wright says the money used to defend the officers could have gone toward a settlement for the family.
‘It’s unfortunate that the city of Beavercreek has taken this stance and spent so much of the taxpayers money to continue to fight the Crawford family,’ he said. ‘This family and John’s two sons deserve justice.’
City law director Stephen McHugh said: ‘The city expects to incur additional legal fees in connection with the pending litigation and investigation.
‘However, because these two matters are still ongoing, I cannot comment as to why the city retained the specific legal counsel that it did or why the legal fees for Sgt. Darkow’s representation are higher than those of officer Williams.’
Officer Williams has remained on administrative duty throughout the duration of the probe.