On August 5, 2014, John Crawford III was shot by police in a Wal-Mart in Ohio. Another shopper had seen Crawford walking through the store carrying an air rifle he had picked up from a shelf, presumably to purchase, and called 911, reporting that Crawford was waving the gun in a threatening manner, and appeared to be loading it. (He later said that he had never seen Crawford point the gun at anyone.) Police arrived, and within seconds of locating the 22-year-old man, shot him.
Security video shows that John Crawford III was wandering aisles somewhat aimlessly, chatting on his cell phone and carrying the air rifle in his other hand. When police showed up, they ordered him to drop the weapon. They then opened fire.
Crawford’s shooting caused a public outcry, with many feeling that the young man had been profiled for his skin color, while Open Carry activists are allowed to freely walk through stores with actual loaded weapons, without resulting in a report to police or a death. An investigation into his death was demanded, and one began.
However, according to ABC, with the anniversary of the shooting death of John Crawford III only days away, the departments responsible for a review of events say that the investigation is still underway, and no timeline can be offered for its completion.
Crawford’s family plans to mark the anniversary on Wednesday with a rally and prayer vigil at the courthouse square in Dayton, Ohio.
Almost two months after the shooting, a Grand Jury, hearing the details of the case, elected not to indict the officers involved in the shooting. This too, resulted in a great deal of criticism and outrage — which only multiplied when the security footage was released to the public, showing John Crawford III talking on his cell phone and being shot within seconds of the officers’ arrival.
Soon after, the Justice Department announced an intention to investigate the shooting independently. In a statement, the Department noted it had been overseeing the state’s investigation and would now conduct its own.
However, a year after the death of John Crawford III, the investigation is reportedly still not complete, and there is no timeline for results in the matter. Michael Wright, an attorney for Crawford’s family, spoke to ABC.
“It does not appear that anything has changed for the better in this past year — that we’re still having a lot of police-involved shootings of young black men.”
The prayer vigil for John Crawford III will be held on Wednesday, the anniversary of his death.
[Photo via: Justice for John Crawford]