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Crawford Protesters Get Their Day In Court

Two recent protests over the police killing of John Crawford III were the first ones to lead to arrests. walmart protest
Wayne Baker

All 16 people arrested in connection with two recent protests in Beavercreek have had their initial day in court. Each of them plead not guilty to misdemeanor charges of trespass, obstructing official business, and in one case, resisting arrest.

Out of the 16, 12 people were arrested at a Christmas Eve protest at the Fairfield Commons Mall, and four people at a "die-in" at Walmart a few days before. Both protests were demanding accountability for the August police killing of John Crawford III inside the Beavercreek Walmart. In September a special grand jury chose not to indict the two officers involved in the incident, who were responding to a call saying Crawford had a gun in the store. It turned out to be a BB pellet gun sold at Walmart, and protests against police violence have been growing in the Dayton area since then.

Attorney Mark Babb is is representing four of the 16 people arraigned in Fairborn Municipal Court. He says evidence for a defense should be easy to come by.

"Well, I think what's unusual about these charges, is that the events leading to the charges were recorded by scores and scores of cameras. So, it will be really interesting to take a look at that," he said. "I think the sheer number of people that have been arrested so far is kind of noteworthy."

No pre-trial dates have been set. The protesters are facing up to 120 days in jail, plus court fines.