Update: Witness Says John Crawford Did Not Point Gun

Update: Witness Says John Crawford Did Not Point Gun

Releasing the video would be like "playing with dynamite," says Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Published September 12, 2014

Update: Sept. 12, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

Ronald Ritchie, the Walmart shopper who called 911 to report John Crawford, is now altering his original account of what happened during the Aug. 5 police shooting.

“At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old witness said, in a recent interview with The Guardian.

Ritchie’s latest statement contradicts his earlier conversation with the 911 dispatcher, in which he claims Crawford was “trying to load” a gun and “was pointing it at people. Children walking by."

The Guardian report also revealed that Ritchie had misled reporters about being an ex-marine, when he had actually been “quickly thrown out of the U.S. marine corps in 2008 after being declared a ‘fraudulent enlistment.’”

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Ohio’s attorney general has refused to publicly release surveillance video of a Black man fatally shot by police in August at a Dayton-area Walmart despite family and supporters pushing for its release, AP reports.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine reportedly said that releasing the video would be like “playing with dynamite” because it could undermine the ongoing investigation and contaminate the potential jury pool.

A number of online efforts have been launched since the police killing of 22-year-old John Crawford III, including the #Releasethetape Facebook group, as well as petitions directed at the U.S. justice department, Wal-Mart Inc., and DeWine on Color of Change and Change.org. Local and national leaders who have also called for the video release include president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and state Rep. Alicia Reece and Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights group National Action Network.

"The public has the right to know how evil the very ones who promised to serve and protect them really are," petition signer Velora Black of San Diego wrote on the Change.org petition.

On Aug. 5, Beavercreek police arrived at a local Walmart after shopper Ronald Ritchie made a 911 call claiming that Crawford was waving a gun at children and other shoppers. DeWine later confirmed that Crawford had been holding an MK-177 BB/Pellet rifle, also known as a “variable pump air rifle,” that he had picked up in the store. The officers involved in his shooting were white.

The family’s attorney Michael Wright was able to view the surveillance video last month and said that Crawford was fatally shot in his back “on sight” in a “militaristic” manner while talking on a cellphone.

"John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping," Wright said in a statement. 

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(Photo: Dayton Daily News)

Written by Patrice Peck

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