A/V: Rally Organizers Call for Release of Store Surveillance Tapes

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Several hundred people gathered on Saturday afternoon within sight of the Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart store where John Crawford III was shot and killed by a city police officer on August 5th.

On a very warm Ohio afternoon, approximately 200 to 300 people assembled in Beavercreek, Ohio to attend the Justice For John Crawford Protest and Rally in support of the family of the 21-year old Cincinnati-area man gunned down by police officers at that city's Walmart store earlier this month. Organized by the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the National Action Network, or GCCNAN, the peaceful protest featured one dozen speakers demanding Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine release surveillance video footage of that shooting that was captured by several of the store's 200 security cameras. On Friday, DeWine stated that such a release would not happen prior to any grand jury-mandated court actions because that evidence could influence potential jurors.

An attendee wears a tee shirt with a transfer of several photos of Crawford at the Saturday afternoon rally and protest.

On the evening of August 5th, Beavercreek police responded to a 911 emergency call from a store customer who said that Crawford was waving around a rifle and aiming it at fellow patrons, to include children. Responding within three minutes of that call, two officers entered the store and, according to their accounts, twice asked Crawford to put down the item and shot him in the torso when he did not respond to commands. The weapon involved in this incident was determined to be a pellet gun that the man had picked up off of a store shelf and had in one of his hands when the shooting occurred. His other hand was holding a cellphone and he was engaged in a conversation when he was struck down. Angela Williams, a 37-year old mother of four from nearby Fairborn, experienced a medical emergency while trying to evacuate two of her children from the store during the police operations. She was taken across Pentagon Boulevard to the Soin Medical Center where she later died. Although Crawford's death has been ruled a homicide, neither of the two responding officers, Sergeant David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams, have been formally charged and both were both placed on administrative leave immediately after the incident. This past Wednesday, the Dayton Daily News reported that Darkow has returned to work. It has yet to be revealed which officer fired the fatal shot.

Several of the attendees brought signs to the Beavercreek, Ohio rally to demonstrate their feelings about the Crawford shooting and the actions of Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine.

In a very unified effort, speakers representing several social advocacy groups from the local area as well as Cincinnati and Columbus expressed their desire for the Walmart surveillance tapes to be released by DeWine. Bishop Bobby Hilton, GCCNAN president, cited the attorney general's apparent hypocrisy in disallowing this particular release prior to a grand jury review when he used state funds to animate the November 2012 shooting of two unarmed black teens in East Cleveland by 13 police officers who fired 137 rounds into their car at the end of a 20-minute chase. In his closing remarks, Hilton said that the Reverend Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network and cable news host, would make an appearance in the southwest Ohio area in support of the Crawford family on September 18th. He is already scheduled to be the keynote speaker for a business-to-business exchange at the University of Cincinnati on that date.

A flyer announcing Saturday's rally was posted on the chapter's Facebook page earlier this week.

According to a recently created Facebook page, a rally in support of the Beavercreek Police Department is scheduled for August 31st at 4pm at that same Walmart location. As of this posting, 132 people have indicated that they will be in attendance.

Bishop Bobby Hilton's amplified voice echoes off of the front of the Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart store where John Crawford III was killed by city police.

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