Officer Sean Williams, who was not indicted after fatally shooting Walmart shopper John Crawford III in August, won’t return to regular duty until the U.S. Dept. of Justice concludes its investigation, a Beavercreek police official said Thursday.
Williams has been on accumulated personal leave — about 10 weeks — since Sept. 25, when a Greene County special grand jury found “no true bill.” Before that, Williams was on administrative duty during the criminal investigation into the Aug. 5 fatal shooting of Crawford, 22, of Fairfield.
“He was put on administrative duty pending the outcome of all these investigations, and that includes the DOJ investigation,” Beavercreek police Capt. Eric Grile said. “There were several days he was not physically present in the building. I don’t think he’s been in uniform since August.”
Grile said Williams, 31, who started with Beavercreek police in 2005, still has about 600 hours — or 75 days at eight hours per shift — of personal leave available. Grile said officers normally work 12-hour shifts, but when an officer is put on administrative duty, those shifts are eight hours apiece. After the shooting, Williams’ schedule switched to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Grile said Beavercreek police have been given no indication when the DOJ investigation will be complete.
Mark D’Alessandro, an attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, said: “Our investigation is ongoing. We don’t have any timetable for completing it. We want to do a thorough job of reviewing everything.”
A Greene County special grand jury voted Sept. 25 not to indict Williams in a case special prosecutor Mark Piepmeier called a “tragedy” and a “perfect storm of circumstances.”
Williams and Sgt. David Darkow entered the Beavercreek Walmart after one person called 911 to report a man waving a rifle around. The item Crawford was carrying was a BB/pellet rifle from an opened box in the store. Darkow and the 911 caller — Ronald Ritchie — were not listed as being considered for charges on the grand jury finding.
Surveillance video of the shooting was shown to Crawford’s parents and their attorneys in private weeks before it was released publicly after the grand jury decision was announced.
Grile said the department’s only outstanding step not yet completed is Beavercreek police Chief Dennis Evers convening a shooting review board, which is required by their rules and regulations. Grile said Evers is finalizing board participants and that Evers likely won’t wait until the DOJ investigation is over.
U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart promised a full review of the shooting and investigation performed by Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is overseen by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Stewart said the DOJ may re-interview witnesses or seek other pieces of evidence after reviewing BCI’s work.
Piepmeier said the grand jury of five men and four woman heard from 18 witnesses and then voted against potential charges of murder, reckless homicide and negligent homicide against Williams. At least seven “yes” votes were needed for a charge to be approved. Grand jury votes are not made public.
Evers said in October that he will retire in 2015, but said his retirement is unrelated to the officer-involved shooting.
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