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Students, Open Carry Activists To Hold Separate Rallies In Beavercreek

Hundreds protested outside the Beavercreek Walmart Saturday, demanding the Attorney General's office release video of the police shooting of John Crawford.
Wayne Baker

Two groups are planning separate demonstrations this weekend centered around the death of 22-year-old John Crawford III, an unarmed black man who was shot by a Beavercreek police officer in Walmart Aug. 5.

A special Greene County Grand Jury decided not to indict Sergeant David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams, the two police officers involved in the shooting. They responded to a 9-1-1 call claiming Crawford was wandering around the store pointing a gun at people; the gun was later found to be an air rifle bb gun sold in the store.

Prentiss Haney of the Ohio Student Association says the organization is still fighting for justice for John Crawford.

“We believe that there is no reason why Sean Williams, if he cannot be indicted, why he is still on the force?” Haney said Thursday. “We are going to be demanding that the police chief have a meeting with us by Wednesday of next week to talk about the firing of Sean Williams from the force.”

The OSA, which has been the primary group organizing demonstrations in Ohio, will protest at 3:30 Friday at the Beavercreek Walmart.

On Saturday a new group will step into the fray: Ohio Open Carry, a gun rights group that believes John Crawford’s death is an example of the violation of rights of gun owners (although Crawford was in fact holding a pellet gun, not open carrying, when he was shot by police).

“I believe that race was a factor, ignorance of the law was a factor, the caller was a factor,” says Virgil Vaduva with Ohio Open Carry. “All of these factors combined created a really dangerous situation, but honestly that's not an excuse. You can't just storm a store with fully automatic weapons and start shooting indiscriminately into a store full of people, that's insane.”

The Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice is now reviewing the case.

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