The family of a 22-year-old Black man fatally shot by white police officers as he held an air rifle in an Ohio Wal-Mart has filed a civil lawsuit against the cops involved, the local police chief and Wal-Mart Stores Inc, AP reported on Tuesday.
“All we want is justice for John Crawford,” said Michael Wright, one of several attorneys for the Crawford family, at a recent press conference. “John Crawford broke no law. John Crawford threatened no one. John Crawford was shopping and talking on his cell phone. John Crawford did nothing wrong.”
Wright's law firm and the family are seeking a minimum of $75,000, a number that the attorneys say will increase as the lawsuit continues and be put towards the care of Crawford's two children. Through the lawsuit, the family also aims to spur changes in policy and procedure at the Beavercreek Police Department.
"No amount of money will bring back Crawford, so that’s not what the lawsuit is about," the attorneys said, as Dayton Daily News reported. Instead, the purpose of the lawsuit is to “effectuate change not only in…Beavercreek and this county and this state. But in the nation...This should not happen in this nation. Ohio is the heart of the nation and this is the place for change to begin.”
Crawford's controversial death appeared in headlines earlier this week when a video showing police aggressively questioning his girlfriend after the officer shot him, The Guardian reported. In the video, Detective Rodney Curd is seen accusing Tasha Thomas of lying, threatening her with jail and suggesting that she was high on drugs.
Only when Thomas swore on the lives of her relatives that Crawford had not been carrying a fire arm, after more than 90 minutes of questioning, did the detective tell her about Crawford's death.
“As a result of his actions, he is gone,” said Curd. Thomas is then seen slumping in her chair and crying.
In September, the Greene County grand jury reportedly decided that the actions of Beavercreek Police Officers Sean Williams — who fatally shot Crawford — and his partner Sgt. David Darkow were justified and opted not to issue any indictments.
This particular police-involved shooting is one of several that has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Courtesy family of John Crawford III, File)