Walmart fighting to limit scope of Crawford deposition

Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier addresses media members after a Greene County grand jury returned no indictment against two Beavercreek police officers involved in the fatal shooting of John Crawford III, who was carrying an air rifle in the Beavercreek Walmart. The gun at left is a centerfire rifle, the gun on the right is a pellet rifle. (Ty Greenlees/Staff)
Caption
Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier addresses media members after a Greene County grand jury returned no indictment against two Beavercreek police officers involved in the fatal shooting of John Crawford III, who was carrying an air rifle in the Beavercreek Walmart. The gun at left is a centerfire rifle, the gun on the right is a pellet rifle. (Ty Greenlees/Staff)

Attorneys for Walmart want to limit the type and scope of questions a company representative can be asked in a deposition for the John Crawford III federal lawsuit.

Walmart and Beavercreek are being sued in federal court in the death of Crawford, who was shot and killed Aug. 5, 2014, by a Beavercreek police officer in that city’s Walmart.

“We are trying to ascertain what their policies and procedures are related to if they have someone in the store that’s a threat,” Crawford family attorney Michael Wright said. “There should be someone for Walmart who is responsible for training folks and for telling us what specifically what their procedures were when a situation like this happens.”

Crawford, 22, of Fairfield, picked up an unboxed Crosman MK-177 tactical air rifle from a store shelf and walked around Walmart swinging it with the barrel mostly pointed toward the floor.

A lone 911 caller told a dispatcher that a black male was waving a rifle at people, including children, and said at one point he thought the man was “loading” the weapon. Beavercreek police Officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow proceeded into Walmart, with Williams firing twice after he claimed they told Crawford to set the item down.

Walmart representatives said in court records that the Crawford family attorneys’ questions are “overly broad and vague” in many instances.

Some of the tone about the scope of depositions’ questions could be gleaned from Walmart’s response to the plaintiff’s 26-question “request for admissions.”

One request states, “Please admit that John Crawford did not remove the Crosman MK-177 from its packaging when he picked it up off the shelf in Wal-Mart Store #2124.”

Walmart’s response was: “Defendants state that, after reasonable inquiry, the information known or readily obtainable is not sufficient to enable the Defendants to admit or deny this request as written for want of knowledge. However, based on the information known or readily obtainable at this time, Defendants admit it does not appear that he took the air rifle out of a sealed package.”

Another request states, “Please admit that if Wal-Mart packaged the Crosman MK-177 Tactical Air Rifle picked up off the shelf in its cardboard box or packaging material, John Crawford would not have been shot by Beavercreek Police.”

Walmart’s response was: “Objection. This request calls for speculation.”

A conference call is scheduled for Dec. 12 before which time the court ordered that the sides should try to resolve the proper scope of Walmart’s deposition and Walmart’s responses to plaintiffs’ outstanding discovery requests.