Family pleads for accountability in John Crawford III's death

 John Crawford’s family frustrated civil case is lagging

The family of John Crawford III had their attorneys send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney of Southern District of Ohio Benjamin Glassman Friday, urging them conclude and announce the results of their investigation in to the shooting death of Crawford by August 31, 2016.

Crawford was shot and killed by Beavercreek police inside the city’s Walmart Aug. 5, 2014.

The letter states they are appreciative of the Department of Justice’s interest and willingness to investigate the shooting, but the delay in completing it is impeding the “family’s efforts to obtain justice through a civil rights lawsuit filed against the city of Beavercreek and the officers responsible for John’s death.”

The family and attorneys are requesting a status update and meeting with the U.S. prosecutors.

A grand jury cleared the Beavercreek officers of any criminal charges.

Update@11:33 a.m.:

Life has been horrific since the death of his son, Crawford’s father said. In life people choose to either self-destruct or continue to go on, and his family chose to go on and keep living. The elder Crawford also pointed out that although whites are being killed by police, blacks are dying at the hands of officers at an alarming rate.

Crawford’s mother, Tressa Sharrod, also charmed in, saying it’s difficult to take Crawford’s two children to the cemetery to see their father. The 3-year-old frequently ask why won’t his father wake up.

“We have to tell him (daddy’s) not going to wake up. We go past any cemetery and he thinks that’s where his father his,” Sherrod said.

Update@11:12 a.m.:

The majority of cases similar to the Crawford shooting were settled before a lawsuit was even filed. But Walmart and the city of Beavercreek have not bulged, Wright said.

The family’s attorneys said the Department of Justice concluded their investigations into the other cases in less than two years; Crawford’s case is the longest and “there has to be accountability to this case.”

The DOJ has not given them a time limit of when the investigation will end. As you can imagine this family is frustrated because there’s no place left to go with regards to moving this case forward, the attorneys said.

There are multiple theories as to why the Crawford case hasn’t gotten the same result as some of the other cases involving police shooting black men, Wright said. He said political leaders have not been vocal enough and haven’t pressured the parties involved.

Crawford’s father, John Crawford Jr. said he would like to thank the citizens in Greene County who have advocated for his son, and for the case to come to a conclusion. People of all races have come together to mourn his son and, and they’ve held rallies, he said.

Update@10:50 a.m.:

The John Crawford press conference is underway. Family Attorney Michael Wright said there are three things the family is seeking.

1. They would like the Department of Justice to complete it’s investigation into the shooting because they have gathered all the evidence.

2. They would also like the city of Beavercreek Police Department to change its culture by training and discipline officers who have violated citizens’ civil rights.

3. They would like Walmart change its merchandising policies and polices regarding BB guns.

Another family attorney said Crawford was shot by an officer that has a history of excessive force and he’s the only one on the police force that has shot two people. The family has requested tot he Depart. of Justice that they completed their investigation. “It doesn’t take two years to figure this out. It just doesn’t,” because all the evidence is available.

Update@10:28 a.m.:

Our reporters and photographers are covering the John Crawford press conference for you, and we’ll be doing a live update. You can also watch it live here.

First report:

A press conference to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the shooting and killing of John Crawford III by police at Beavercreek’s Walmart will be held this morning.

The press conference will be at 10:30 a.m. in the Dayton offices of attorney Michael Wright. Crawford’s parents and children will attend, according to Wright.

A rally for Crawford will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday outside the federal courthouse in downtown Dayton.

“This family has waited two years for answers,” Wright said in a press release obtained by this news organization. “They deserve the truth from the Beavercreek police and from Walmart so they can bring closure and find peace regarding the death of their son and father. We are determined to get justice for John Crawford III.”

Crawford was shot and killed Aug. 5, 2014 by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams after a lone 911 caller told a dispatcher that a black male was pointing a gun at people.

“Police officers, responding to the call, failed to assess the situation before using lethal force,” the press release said. “Crawford was shot and killed minutes later.”

Crawford was talking on his phone and had a pellet rifle — that he picked up from an unopened box on a store shelf — in his other hand when Williams fired twice.

Beavercreek police said Crawford didn’t respond to two requests to drop the item while Crawford’s attorneys say the 22-year-old Fairfield man had less than a second to react.

Williams was cleared in September 2014 by Greene County special grand jury, but a U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) investigation remains ongoing.

The federal wrongful death civil lawsuit is somewhat stalled because a judge is allowing Williams’ and Sgt. David Darkow’s depositions to be delayed until the DOJ’s probe is complete.

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