Family of Ohio man shot and killed in Walmart sue company, police

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2014 12:11 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The family of an Ohio man shot and killed by police while holding a BB gun in a Walmart store filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against the police and the national retail chain.

John Crawford, 22, was shot after a 911 caller reported a man with a gun at the Beavercreek Walmart in a suburb of the southern Ohio city of Dayton.

In a surveillance video released by authorities, Crawford, who is black, can be seen picking up an unpackaged BB gun off a shelf and walking through the store while talking on a cell phone until a white police officer shot him.

Crawford's death came a few days before the Aug. 9 fatal shooting by police in Ferguson, Missouri, of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, which is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department and has focused national attention on the use of deadly force by police.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, names the city of Beavercreek; Sean Williams, the Beavercreek police officer who fatally shot Crawford; Sergeant David Darkow, who accompanied Williams; Police Chief Dennis Evers; and the Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The suit said Williams shot Crawford about one second after making contact with him.

In September, a nine-member grand jury opted not to indict the two officers involved in the shooting on murder, reckless homicide and negligent homicide charges.

Wal-Mart officials were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Bill Trott)