Soap Box:  Killing of John Crawford

October 1, 2014

Ronald Ritchie dialed 911 on Aug. 4, 2014 to report a black guy in the Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart store was walking around with a gun, loading it, and pointing it at people, and children.  The police said they went to Walmart, and encountered the black guy with a gun.  They said they ordered him to drop the gun and when he would not comply, they shot him dead.  Sounds like an open and shut case, right?  The only problem is that the 911 caller and the police are lying.  The reason we know is because everything was caught on video surveillance cameras.

The black man was 22 year old John Crawford.  He was in Walmart, casually walking around as he talked on his cell phone.  Noticing a toy BB gun on the shelf, he picked it up and began carrying it with him.  No one around him seems concerned.  Why would they?  He doesn’t appear to be a threat.  He’s just talking on his cell phone while carrying a BB gun.  He never loads it with anything.  He never points it at anyone.  And he never points it at children.

So the first million dollar question is why did Ronald Ritchie call in a false 911 report and why did he lie about what John Crawford was doing?  So far that question has not been answered, though apparently Ritchie has acknowledged that Crawford didn’t do the things that Ritchie claimed.  At the bare minimum Ritchie needs to be charged with filing a false police report.  I would also think that the family of Crawford should bring a civil suit against him.  But even that wouldn’t really give justice given because of Ritchie’s malevolent actions, Crawford is dead.  I do really wonder about his motivations for his false claims.

When the police approached Crawford, they claimed that they ordered him to drop the “weapon” but he refused, and they had no other option but to shoot him.  However, the video also proves the cops are lying too.  If they did shout orders to drop the “weapon”, they never gave Crawford a change to reply.  In fact, Crawford wasn’t even facing the cops.  He was facing the shelves, still talking on his cell phone.  The cops jumped out and shot him in the side before he could even react.  I doubt he even saw them before he was shot.  If they did yell for him to drop the “weapon”, it was simultaneous with them shooting him.  Bottom line is they executed him right there.

So the second million dollar question is why did the cops lie about what happened?  It was an obvious unjustified shoot, that from just about any angle also looks to be criminal.  Did the cops think he had a real rifle?  Probably.  But there’s nothing criminal about having a real rifle.  Open carry is legal in Ohio.  The only reason for concern would be if he was pointing it at customers, which was the lie that Ronald Ritchie told 911.  The cops didn’t observe Crawford pointing it at anyone, so why did they kill him?  While some have hinted at racial overtones, there’s no way to be sure.  It is obvious that these cops are too incompetent to be cops, whether it be from lack of training, or just being too scared to be cops.  And the fact that actual events don't match the reality shown by the video is becoming an all too common occurrence. 

To rub salt in the wound, the cops are not being charged with any wrong doing, even after the video revealed their false report of how the incident happened.  Special prosecutor Mark Piepmeier, in defending the decision to not bring charges against the cops for their unlawful killing or false police report said, “When you’re a police officer responding to the scene, it’s not what is true or not true, it’s what you reasonably believe to be true. And there’s no reason for these officers not to believe that’s what’s going on.”  That’s a very scary attitude because a reasonable person would investigate the claims before shooting someone to death.  While it could be reasonable for the cops to believe the lies that Ronald Ritchie told 911, it’s very unreasonable for them not to investigate and confirm before they start shooting and killing unarmed citizens.  A reasonable cop knows Ohio has an open carry law so even if Crawford was carrying a real rifle, there would be nothing wrong with that.  A reasonable cop would approach and access the situation first to determine if Crawford was pointing a “weapon” at other shoppers.  There’s nothing reasonable at all about cops jumping out and ambushing Crawford, and shooting him before he could even turn around to see what was happening.

The unlawful killing of John Crawford is one injustice piled upon another injustice, piled upon another.  Ronald Ritchie has not faced justice for calling in a false police report.  Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier, acknowledged that without Ronald Ritchie’s 911 call, the shooting never would have happened.  The cops that executed Crawford have not faced justice for their unlawful shooting, nor the cover-up regarding their false claims that he didn’t follow their commands.  And the citizens of Ohio have been denied justice from all this being swept under the rug without anyone facing charges for their wrong doings.  The family of John Crawford should seek retribution by any means possible.

Jeff Polston

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