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Officer In Beavercreek Walmart Shooting Said He Didn't See Crawford Aim Gun

Wayne Baker
Activists staged many protest at the Beavercreek Wal-Mart following the killing of John Crawford III.

New information has come to light about the fatal police shooting of John Crawford III, a black man who was killed by white police officer Sean Williams inside a Beavercreek Walmart store in 2014.

In deposition documents related to a federal wrongful-death lawsuit, Officer Sean Williams said he did not see Crawford point a gun at anyone at the Walmart store. 

The police officer said he shot 22-year-old Crawford because he felt Crawford was “about to” aim a rifle at him and Williams felt an "imminent threat."

Officer Williams had responded to a 911 call about someone waving a gun in the store.

Police later learned Crawford was carrying an air rifle from a store shelf.

Crawford family attorneys have said Crawford had less than a second to react to police commands before he was killed. Now, says attorney Michael Wright, family members feel the recently revealed deposition documents confirm their belief that justice was not served in the case.

“So, they are upset and they continue to be upset because this case continues to linger," Wright says. "There’s no resolution on the criminal side of this case, there’s no resolution on the civil side of this case. So, four years later, they still have no justice.”

Williams was cleared of wrongdoing by a Greene County grand jury in 2014.

Last summer, the U.S. Justice Department announced there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue charges of civil rights violations in the case. Williams returned to full duty shortly afterward.

The wrongful-death civil lawsuit filed by Crawford family is expected to go to trial this fall.

April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.