Grand Jury Says Officers Were Justified in Fatally Shooting Man in Dayton-Area Walmart

Demonstrators pray outside the Greene County Courthouse. (Wayne Baker/WYSO)
Demonstrators pray outside the Greene County Courthouse. (Wayne Baker/WYSO)
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22-year-old John Crawford III was fatally shot by police in the store the evening of Aug. 5. A 9-1-1 caller reported Crawford was waving what appeared to be a rifle. Police said he didn’t obey commands to put down what turned out to be an air rifle BB-gun.

Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said the Greene County grand jury opted not to issue any indictments in the case. Assistant prosecutor Stacey DeGraffenreid says the grand jury had access to photographic and video evidence and heard from 18 witnesses.

“I definitely think a thorough investigation was done," DeGraffenreid said.

Investigators have also released surveillance video from inside the Walmart store the night Crawford was shot, which shows him walking in the pet food aisle and talking on his cellphone when he’s approached by police. James Hayes is with the Ohio Student Association.

"It’s clear there is no justice to be found here in Greene county," Hayes said. "We are saddened by the decision the grand jury made, but not surprised."

Federal investigators have announced they will review the case. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, and the FBI say they will look at whether any U.S. law was violated.

Crawford family members along with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Gov. John Kasich are calling for federal involvement.

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