Surveillance video of the fatal police shooting of John Crawford in an Ohio Wal-Mart earlier this month shows the 22-year-old talking on the phone and leaning on an air rifle sold in the store before he was shot, the attorney for Crawford’s family says.
Crawford, a father of two, was shot by two police officers Aug. 5 after several shoppers called 911 to report that a man was carrying a gun around the store.
The gun turned out to be a Crosman MK-177 pellet gun, which Wal-Mart sells for approximately $100.
The Crawford family, along with their attorney Michael Wright, were shown portions of the surveillance video last week and shared what they saw in a press conference Tuesday.
Wright said that Crawford was on a cell phone before the shooting and was likely not aware that police were approaching. He also said that the video showed Crawford leaning on the butt of the air rifle while on the phone. In the next frame, he is shown on the ground after having been shot.
“From what we’ve seen, John had no opportunity to put the gun down,” Wright said, adding that Crawford was “doing nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” according to WHIO.
Crawford’s girlfriend has said that she was on the phone with him at the time of the shooting. She said she heard the father of two say “It’s not real” before the shots were fired.
One question that arose in the hazy aftermath of the shooting was whether Crawford removed the air rifle from any packaging before carrying it around the store.
But Wright told The Daily Caller that the video viewed by the family showed that the “gun was not in packaging when Mr. Crawford picked it up from the shelf.”
He also told TheDC that the family “was not shown all of the video.”
Just hours after the shooting, Beavercreek police turned the investigation over to the Ohio attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Authorities released several 911 calls and audio from police dispatch radio. On one of those calls, a shopper said that Crawford was pointing the air rifle at others in the store, including children. (RELATED: Cops Kill Man In Wal-Mart Carrying An Air Rifle)
Wright said at Tuesday’s press conference that he believes authorities have only released information that benefits them.
“Everything released is one-sided,” Wright said, according to WDTN. “There is nothing favorable to John Crawford. You can’t show different pieces, show it all, don’t trickle pieces to gain favor of the public.”
Attorney general Michael DeWine defended the decision to keep the store video from the public, saying that airing it could bias the grand jury he has convened.
“What’s important is that it’s not been publicly released. I thought the family had the right to view it. The mom did not want to view it. I understand it. The dad did view it,” said DeWine. “To put the video out on TV is not the right thing to do.”
DeWine said in a press release last week that investigators are reviewing 203 security cameras in the store. They have gathered 12 pieces of physical evidence and had interviewed more than 50 witnesses.
The grand jury will convene Sept. 22. DeWine also appointed a special prosecutor, assistant Hamilton County prosecutor Mark Piepmeier, who has handled more than 100 officer-involved shooting cases, according to WHIO.
Wright said at Tuesday’s press conference that a special prosecutor is not enough. He wants the Justice Department to investigate.
The shooting occurred just days before the fatal police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Brown’s death has received much more national attention. Though Wright contacted Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, the civil rights activist has only weighed in on Brown’s case.
One of the officers who shot Crawford was placed back on the job last week. The shock of the gun fire was tragic in another way. A 37-year-old mother shopping in the Beavercreek store had a fatal heart attack during the gunfire.