Justin King (The Anti-Media)
August 30, 2014
Beavercreek, Ohio – The killing of John Crawford III by police inside Wal-Mart differs from other recent police killings in one substantial manner. It isn’t that the victim was unarmed, carrying only a bb gun obtained from the store’s shelves. It isn’t that Crawford was on the phone when the officers approached him. It is different because even if Crawford had been carrying a rifle in the store, the officers that killed him did not even have cause to detain him, much less shoot him. Thumbnail credit: eurweb.com
Ohio is an “open carry” state. To put that simply, walking around a building with a firearm is not grounds for arrest, nor does it fulfill the requirement of reasonable suspicion for an investigative detention. So even if police were correct in their assumption that Crawford was carrying a firearm, which he was not, they still wouldn’t have had grounds to question him about it, much less point their firearms at him.
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As Cincinnati Police Chief James E. Craig told his department:
“Openly carrying a firearm, by itself, is not illegal. The fact that someone has called 911 or flagged down an officer about seeing someone with a gun in public is probably not enough to support an investigative detention. In such situations, an officer must observe the subject and evaluate whether reasonable suspicion exists to justify detaining the individual. If the individual is doing nothing else that arouses suspicion, simply wearing a gun will not justify detention.”
UPDATE: Video has now been released of the shooting incident. Watch below:
There can be no immunity in this case for the officers because even if he was carrying a gun, which he was not, they didn’t have legal grounds to question him. They were not operating within the law. Police only have immunity when adhering to the law. This was murder.
This is no different than if I, as a journalist, walked up to you at a public park while you were grilling and told you to put the fork down. You laugh and say “It’s not even sharp,” and then I open fire and kill you. You legally possessed an object, threatened nobody, and were murdered by someone that had no legal reason to even question what you were doing. That’s what happened to Mr. Crawford.
This isn’t an accidental shooting during the course of an investigation. This wasn’t a case of failing to comply with a lawful order. This was murder. It must be charged as such, or Beavercreek’s Police will be seen the same way departments across the country are seen. Departments whose officers face daily threats to life and limb from a public that knows the people with the badges are more of a threat to public safety than any criminal on the streets.
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