CINCINNATI – Family members of a man fatally shot by police at a Wal-Mart say they believe store video will provide answers about what happened that day and vindicate him.
The family’s attorney and the father of John Crawford III said Monday that they requested surveillance video and communications between police and store security from Aug. 5, when Crawford was shot in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek. Police said Crawford, 22, waved an air rifle at customers and was shot by officers when he wouldn’t drop it.
John Crawford Jr., of Jackson, Tennessee, said in a telephone interview that his son wasn’t a bad person.
“He was a good son and a good father to his two children,” he said. “I am positive he will be vindicated once the facts are known.”
A witness told a 911 dispatcher that a man had a rifle and appeared to be loading it.
Family attorney Michael Wright said that they haven’t heard back from authorities or Wal-Mart about their requests for the video and other material.
“We understand he took the BB gun from a shelf and had a phone in one hand and the gun in the other, but that’s why we need to see the video,” Wright said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Arkansas, has provided material to law enforcement officials for their investigation, but it would be up to authorities to decide whether to release that to anyone else, company spokesman Brian Nick said.
Beavercreek’s city attorney didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment Monday. A spokeswoman for the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation said that agency hasn’t found any public records request from Crawford’s family. But the video would be part of the investigation and couldn’t be released as a public record, spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said.
The police asked the state to take over the investigation into the shooting, but Wright said the family will ask the U.S. attorney’s office to oversee it.
“We want a set of independent eyes that can take an unbiased look,” Wright said. “We don’t believe a Wal-Mart customer should be holding a BB gun they sell and get killed.”
He said the family is asking everyone to withhold judgment until all the facts are known.
Wright says they also wanted to express condolences to the family of Angela Williams, a 37-year-old Fairborn woman who died after suffering a medical problem during the store’s evacuation. Authorities said it could be weeks before final autopsy results are known.