Dayton Black Lives Matter Protesters To Appear In Court Monday
Ten protesters arrested in Beavercreek in December will have a pretrial hearing in Fairborn this Monday morning.
Twelve people with the Black Lives Matter movement were arrested on Christmas Eve at Fairfield Commons Mall after they went into the middle of Christmas shopping crowds and unfurled a banner calling for Justice for John Crawford III.
Crawford, who was Black, was shot and killed by a white police officer inside the nearby Beavercreek Walmart in August of 2014, a few days before Michael Brown was shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. The two officers involved in the Beavercreek shooting were not indicted by a Greene County Special Grand Jury in September, and John Crawford III’s family has since filed suit against Beavercreek police and Walmart. The U.S. Department of Justice is also still reviewing the case.
At the time he was shot, 22-year-old Crawford was holding a BB gun sold in the store and talking on his cell phone; police say they were responding to a 911 call that gave the impression he could be dangerous. Accounts of what happen that day are varied, but video footage shows police entering the Walmart store and shooting within seconds of seeing Crawford.
Data on race and police violence are scarce, but one study by journalism organization ProPublica found young black men in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts.
The ten demonstrators on trial Monday have pled not guilty to trespassing and obstructing justice; at least some say they didn’t intend to get arrested. They’ll get a hearing in Fairborn Municipal Court, which Attorney AJ Wagner says could end in a plea bargain or in plans for a trial.
Four other people were arrested in another December protest and are still making their way through the legal process.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.