Judge delays questioning of Beavercreek officers in Crawford suit

Delay is third granted in civil case as federal criminal probe continues.

About three weeks before the second anniversary of John Crawford III’s death at a Beavercreek Walmart, a federal judge has allowed a third delay for the deposition of the police officers in a civil lawsuit.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Michael Newman signed an order extending the stay on the depositions of Beavercreek Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow for an additional 30 days. The most recent stay was to expire July 11.

“The fact still remains that we do want to take the depositions of these officers and have not had the opportunity at this point,” said attorney Michael Wright, who represents Crawford’s parents. “The family is disappointed. It still is delaying our ability to seek justice for this family.”

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice had twice ruled the depositions could be delayed until the U.S. Dept. of Justice decides whether to charge either officer in Dayton’s federal court. The order signed by Newman states the court will rule within that 30 days whether to extend the decision further.

Wright said Greene County Common Pleas Court visiting Judge John Bessey turned down the family's request for a transcript of the special grand jury that did not indict Williams in September 2014.

“We can’t take the depositions of the officers, and we can’t get the grand jury transcript,” said Wright, who plans to appeal. “It just seems like there are undue protections for these guys.”

Williams and Darkow responded Aug. 5, 2014, to a 911 caller from Beavercreek’s Walmart who told a dispatcher that a black male was waving a gun at people, including children, and that it seemed like the man was loading it.

Williams shot twice and killed Crawford, a Fairfield resident, after police said they gave Crawford two warnings in a couple seconds to drop what was a BB/pellet rifle Crawford picked up from an opened box on a store shelf.

The federal investigation into the police-involved shooting of John Crawford III "has taken longer than some may have anticipated," southern Ohio's top federal prosecutor said.

In an exclusive statement to this news organization in April, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin Glassman said the Crawford case remains a priority. The U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) probe began Sept. 24, 2014, and has not been completed.

Beavercreek police Chief Dennis Evers told this news organization last week that the department is "frustrated with the lack of closure" in the Crawford case.

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