A grand jury on Wednesday decided not to indict police officers involved in the shooting of John Crawford, a 22-year-old black man who was shot and killed by Beavercreek Police at a Walmart near Dayton, Ohio, on August 5.
Crawford was shopping at the Walmart when Ronald Ritchie, a white 24-year-old, called 911 after reportedly seeing Crawford holding a pellet gun designed to look like an assault rifle from the store's sporting goods section. Police said officers who arrived at the scene thought the pellet gun was a real firearm and reacted quickly to protect the public. (The surveillance video from the Walmart shows Crawford calmly holding the gun, then dropping it before he was killed.)
Crawford's family argued something must have gone terribly wrong. "Somebody's going to have to explain to me how anybody goes into Walmart and ends up dead," said John Crawford Jr., the dead man's father, according to NBC News. "It appears that we have an epidemic in the United States of America where young black men are being slain by white police officers, and nothing is being done about it. And we need to stop that now."
LeeCee Johnson says she's the mother of Crawford's children and that she was on the phone with him at the time of the shooting. She told Dayton Daily News, "We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were. And the next thing I know, he said 'It's not real,' and the police start shooting and they said 'Get on the ground,' but he was already on the ground because they had shot him. … And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human."
The grand jury appears to have sided with the police in this case.
Crawford's case rose to the national spotlight in recent weeks as the events of Ferguson, Missouri, unfolded following the August 9 shooting of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson. Some protesters from Ferguson made their way to Greene County, where the grand jury was held, to show support for Crawford and his family.
The grand jury for the Brown case is still ongoing, with recent reports indicating that Wilson testified for nearly four hours. A decision from the Ferguson grand jury is expected in October at the earliest.