BEAVERCREEK — Wal-Mart has responded to the requests from the family of John Crawford III – the man killed in an officer-involved shooting incident at the store’s Beavercreek location Aug. 5 – who have called for the store to release its surveillance video.
“The investigation by law enforcement is ongoing,” Wal-Mart corporate spokesperson Brian Nick said Tuesday. “We’ve been cooperating with that in terms of giving them what they ask for in terms of surveillance and anything else. We’ll continue to do that as this investigation proceeds.”
When asked about whether or not Wal-Mart would change its policies about how air rifles are displayed or sold, Nick said, “For starters it’s important to note that we don’t know exactly what occurred in terms of the events surrounding the incident, and we’re still learning more and that’s obviously what the police investigation is for. I think it’s important to understand all the facts of the events surrounding the incident, and certainly we’ll be able to assess those moving forward.”
Nick wouldn’t give a specific number of how many security cameras are typically in a store, but said there are “certainly a thorough amount of cameras that have the ability to keep track … of what’s going on in the store at a given time….”
Wal-Mart’s response comes after Crawford’s family called for the company to release its surveillance video. Several of Crawford’s family members, including his parents, gathered at the office of Wright & Schulte, LLC on Monday at a press conference about Crawford. Attorney Michael Wright, the family’s legal representation, and John Crawford Jr. (father of John Crawford III) spoke for the family.
“The family is not here to make accusations,” Wright said. “We’re only here to get answers.”
According to Wright, some of the answers require the Wal-Mart video. “That has not been released,” he said. “We’ve requested it, and it hasn’t been released.”
Brian Jarvis, mayor of Beavercreek issued a statement Monday night about the shooting incident: “On behalf of city council and the staff of the City of Beavercreek, our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost a loved one and all those who were involved. Our hearts also go out to the employees and customers who went through this harrowing experience. We express our sincere sympathies and condolences to those families who lost loved ones.
“We also express our thanks to the Wal-Mart employees who helped guide customers to safety. Everyone can be assured that the leadership of the city and the Beavercreek Police Department seek the independent review of this incident. The investigation is in the hands of the attorney general’s office and until the investigation report is released, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
John Crawford III, 22, of Cincinatti, was shot by Beavercreek police officers in the Beavercreek Wal-Mart on Aug. 5 after he allegedly waved an air rifle – later identified by Attorney General DeWine’s office as a Crosman MK-177, a .177 caliber BB/pellet rifle – at store customers.
A release from the Beavercreek Police Department said that Crawford was shot after he failed to comply with the verbal commands of the officers. He was transported to Miami Valley Hospital where he died shortly after arrival.
Angela Williams, 37, of Fairborn, also died in connection with the incident. Williams collapsed while trying to get her children out of Wal-Mart and later died at Soin Medical Center.
The officers involved in the shooting – Sgt. David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams – have been placed on paid administrative leave. Darkow and Williams have been on the Beavercreek police force since 1997 and 2005, respectively.
“Preliminary indications are that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances,” Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers said in a prepared statement on August 6. “In order to preserve the transparency of this investigation I’ve asked the Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine, to have the Ohio Bureau of Investigation and Identification to conduct the criminal investigation into this officer involved shooting, and he has agreed.”
That investigation is ongoing. According to Jill Del Greco, public information officer for DeWine’s office, investigations like this typically take several months.
The investigation is being conducted by the attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the state’s official crime lab which services the criminal justice community. It’s an independent agency that can be called on by an agency in cases like this. The bureau will take a case and investigate it to determine the facts of an incident and will present those facts – without a recommendation one way or the other – to the county prosecutor.
Beavercreek police are asking anyone who has information relating to the incident or who may have witnessed the events leading up to it, to contact Captain Eric Grile at 937-426-1225.
Nathan Pilling is a reporter who covers Greene County agencies and organizations. You can find him on Twitter at @XDGNatePilling or you can call him at 937-502-4498.