12 arrested in Fairfield Commons ‘die-in’

The Christmas Eve protest at Fairfield Commons Mall netted a dozen arrests on charges of obstructing official business and criminal trespass, according to records released Friday by Beavercreek Police.

The arrested on Wednesday included Branden Calhoun of Dayton; Tatiana Davis of Dayton; Julius Eason of Yellow Springs; Nancy Epling of Yellow Springs; Charmaine Griffith of Riverside; Prentiss Haney of Dayton; Marshawn McCarrel of Columbus; Vernellia Randall of Dayton; Amaha Sellassie of Dayton; Maiva Thornton-Hodge of Yellow Springs; Virgil Vaduva of Jamestown; and Danielle West of Oakland, Calif.

All were issued tickets for the misdemeanor offenses and will be required to appear Dec. 30 in Fairborn Municipal Court.

The protesters staged a “die-in” against the death of John Crawford III of Fairfield, who was shot by police at the Beavercreek Walmart. The protest also caused some stores to close temporarily and tense moments with police.

Nearly 100 people, many affiliated with the Ohio Student Association, conducted the “die-in.”

They dropped to the floor of the mall outside a Charlotte Russe store near the Santa Land display to represent people who have lost their lives in police-related shootings and incidents. Police seized a bullhorn used in the protest.

As protesters unfurled a large yellow banner off the second-floor that read, “Black Lives Matter,” mall security personnel and police officers from several agencies stood arm-to-arm trying to force protesters outside the mall.

A similar protest was held Saturday inside the Beavercreek Walmart. Crawford was killed Aug. 5, inside the store by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams, who responded to a 911 call of a man carrying a loaded rifle inside the store and scaring customers. The rifle turned out to be a BB/pellet gun made to look like an assault rifle, and a grand jury later declined to indict Williams.

Beavercreek is among other U.S. cities protesters have targeted where African-American men have been killed during encounters with police.

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