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Updated: 10:41 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 | Posted: 1:41 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Records in Walmart shooting released by police

By Mark Gokavi, Chris Stewart, Laura Bischoff

Staff Writers


Forty minutes after John Crawford III was shot Aug. 5 by Beavercreek police inside Walmart, officers said a conversation with a supervisor was needed, according to police radio traffic and cruiser camera video released Thursday.

"Contact the on-call Greene County prosecutor," one official said over radio 70 minutes after the shooting. "We're going to need them to respond to the scene."

Crawford, 22, of Fairfield, was shot and killed by a Beavercreek officer after police said he twice ignored commands to put down an airsoft rifle. One 911 caller said Crawford, who was on his cell phone, was waving what turned out to be an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle around at people, including children. Crawford's family disputes that claim.

The more than 100 audio clips and multiple hours of video footage released Thursday fill in some of the holes in the order of events, since no Walmart surveillance footage or complete Beavercreek police report narrative have been released.

Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office is investigating the shooting and will provide the prosecutor to present the case to a Greene County special grand jury, reiterated Thursday that the Walmart surveillance video will not be released ahead of the Sept. 3 grand jury.

Video footage from one of multiple cruiser cams shows a police officer walking with a rifle before handing it to another person at about 8:46 p.m. Aug. 5, a few seconds after an ambulance pulls away from Walmart.

Time stamps on various communications indicate the 911 call came in at 8:21 p.m., police arrived at 8:24 p.m., Crawford was likely shot at 8:27 p.m., a call for medics went out at 8:28 p.m.

By 8:30 p.m., officers said an adult female — later identified as Angela Williams, of Fairborn, who worked in a Springfield nursing home — was in cardiac arrest. She died later that night at Soin Medical Center.

At 8:31 p.m., officers were asking if a tourniquet was available. At 8:42 p.m., an officer asks, "Are you OK with them cuffing the suspect at this point?" At 8:47 p.m., an officer says, "We'll be coming out with the suspect if you guys want to have it clear out there."

Portions of other cruiser cam videos show several officers talking on phones, taking notes and writing on a white board at a makeshift command center in the parking lot of Office Depot.

Late Thursday afternoon, Crawford's parents' attorney issued a news release blasting Beavercreek police for putting Sgt. David Darkow back on the job. Officer Sean Williams is still on administrative leave, city law director Stephen McHugh said Wednesday.

"This is an astonishing turn of events," attorney Michael Wright said in the release. "As the attorney general is preparing to present evidence to a grand jury to seek indictments of (Sgt.) Darkow and (Officer) Williams, Beavercreek is putting (Sgt.) Darkow back on the streets."

On Tuesday at Wright's Dayton office, DeWine let Crawford's parents see about six minutes of surveillance video, which prompted John Crawford Jr. to say he saw his son "murdered" by law enforcement. DeWine, who said his office was contacted within two hours of the shooting, announced Tuesday that he and Greene County officials would convene the special grand jury.

"Apparently, the Beavercreek police department has not seen the video which conclusively establishes that John H. Crawford III was not armed and not threatening anyone," Wright's news release said. "Instead, he was standing in the back of an aisle talking on the phone with no other shoppers near. Crawford never approached the officers, never aimed the BB gun at them, or otherwise was aggressive in any way. He was shot on site."

Since seeing the video, Wright has appeared on multiple national radio and TV outlets, offering snippets of what the video showed.

Beavercreek officials said their internal investigation and a shooting panel to review the police-involved action would take place after the attorney general's office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) finished its investigation.

"Apparently Beavercreek concluded its investigation," Wright's release noted. "Otherwise, (Sgt.) Darkow would still be on leave. We are calling on the Beavercreek Police Department to release the results of its investigation, particularly the statements of the officers who killed John. We look forward to comparing their statements to what is shown on the video."

Neither McHugh nor the Ohio Attorney General's Office has confirmed that Williams fired the shot that killed Crawford.

Asked by the Dayton Daily News on Thursday to clarify whether he told Crawford's family he would seek prosecution of Beavercreek's officers, DeWine said:

"We showed a portion of the video to Mr. Crawford. I told him that it was my intention to take the matter to a grand jury and that grand jury would commence two weeks from the date that I showed him the video," he said. "I had personal discussions with him about his loss and told him that I was very sorry about his loss. I told him that we would do everything. My job is to find the truth and to see that justice was done."

DeWine refused to describe his opinion of the six minutes of Walmart surveillance video. "I'm not going to do that. It would not be right for me to publicly comment about what I saw. I think the right thing to do is to present this entire matter to a grand jury, which is what we intend to do.

"We are still interviewing witnesses — that will come to a close fairly shortly. We are still in the process of, our technicians are, of working through the videos from over 200 cameras that are in the store. But I still believe that we will be starting the grand jury 12 days from now."

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