Newly released surveillance footage shows the final moments of John Crawford, a 22-year-old black man, who was shot by police inside a Walmart outlet while carrying a BB gun that he had picked up in the store.
The footage can be viewed here (warning: Features disturbing images). It shows John Crawford standing at the end of an aisle in the Beavercreek, Ohio, outlet, being shot moments after encountering officers. Police had responded to a 911 call from Ronald Ritchie, 24.
A report from NBC News said that Richie told authorities that a man was “walking around with a gun in the store... like, pointing it at people.” He added that Crawford was “loading [the gun] right now... waving it back and forth” and that “he [Crawford] just pointed it at, like, two children.”
Video footage released Wednesday shows Crawford picking up the rifle, and then seemingly browsing in the store. However, Crawford disappears from the view of the cameras on a few occasions making it hard to prove either way if the incidents described in the 911 call, and not seen in the video, took place.
An Ohio grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow, the officers involved in the shooting, according to a report from the Dayton Daily News. The jury had reportedly considered charges of murder, reckless homicide and negligent homicide. The officers said that they fired on Crawford after he refused to comply with instructions to drop the rifle. However, Crawford's family disputed this version of events.
In a statement released after the grand jury's decision, the family said that they were “disgusted” with the announcement, adding: “The undisputed evidence shows that Officer Sean Williams shot and killed Mr. Crawford while his back was turned and without adequate warning. Needless to say, there was definitely sufficient evidence and probable cause to move forward with criminal charges.”
The family also called for a federal investigation to determine if race was a factor in the shooting, according to a report from Cleveland.com. Crawford was black, while the two officers who shot him are white.
Following the grand jury's decision not to indict the officers, the Department of Justice announced that it would launch a review into the case. The Justice Department’s civil rights division and the FBI will “take appropriate action if the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes,” The Guardian reported.
The possible investigation comes as federal officials met with residents in Ferguson, Missouri, where they are conducting an investigation into the actions of the city and county police, in the wake of the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.