Police in the Walmart shooting that killed 22-year-old John Crawford III in Beavercreek, Ohio, lied when they gave their accounts of how her son was killed, Crawford’s mother said — and newly released statements from witnesses inside the Walmart on August 5 appear to back up her claim.
Officer Sean Williams told investigators that his partner, Sergeant David Darkow, “repeatedly yelled ‘drop the weapon,'” at Crawford as Crawford spoke on his cell phone to the mother of his children while holding a pellet gun he’d picked up off a store shelf at his side.
“After repeated commands to drop the weapon the male turned to us in an aggressive manner with the rifle in hand. At that time the black male was in a position where he could shoot me or Sergeant Darkow,” Williams told his fellow cops who were charged with investigating the deadly police shooting inside the Walmart.
But a video of the shooting does not support the claim that Crawford pointed the fake gun at officers or acted “aggressively,” and witnesses say they did not hear the two officers issue multiple commands to Crawford.
Tressa Sherrod, Crawford’s mother, accused the officers of “trying to cover their butts.”
A grand jury in September refused to indict either Williams or Darko for the fatal shooting of Crawford.
“I was very angry,” Sherrod told the Guardian newspaper in an interview last week. “If they watched the video that everyone else had seen, I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t get an indictment.”
Crawford was shot twice, leaving six wounds in his body. One bullet hit him in the left elbow, shattering the bone. A second ripped through his upper torso, blasting through his right side and striking his right arm.
Doctors worked frantically to save Crawford, but his wounds from the police shooting in the pet supply aisle of the Walmart store were too severe.
According to a police file made public after the grand jury decided the officers did nothing wrong, and cited by a Guardian report, witnesses flatly contradicted claims that the two cops had repeatedly warned Crawford to drop his “weapon.”
“Three witnesses said the two officers failed to identify themselves as police and issued only one, vague command, “Put it down, put it down.” Another witness said she heard the words “drop your weapon,” while a fifth claimed to hear the words ‘get down.'”
But only about one second elapsed between whatever the officers said to Crawford and the time the police shooting started, the Walmart video reveals.