Justice For John Crawford Demonstrators Kicked Out Of Beavercreek Council Meeting
A group of protesters was kicked out of a Beavercreek City Council meeting Monday evening after disrupting it with chants about John Crawford III, who was killed by police inside a Beavercreek Walmart in August.
“I think it’s important that we keep present regarding John Crawford III, and all of the other black and brown people who are being murdered on a regular basis by police,” said Dayton resident Ndidi Achebe, one of about 20 demonstrators who went inside the city council meeting in an impromptu action.
Beavercreek police have consistently said John Crawford, 22, didn’t respond to repeated commands to put down a BB gun he was holding while walking around the Walmart store. Surveillance video from inside the Walmart shows Crawford talking distractedly on a cell phone when police, responding to a 911 call, enter and open fire within seconds. Crawford was black, and the officers involved in the shooting are white—local protests have connected his death to other police shootings of young black people around the country.
In September, a Greene County grand jury came back with no indictment for the two officers involved in the case. Officer Sean Williams, who fired the gun, remains on administrative duty awaiting results of a federal investigation; Sergeant David Darkow has returned to the force.
The most recent development in the case is that a local review board found no police wrongdoing—those results were released quietly in March.
More than 30 people gathered in a planned protest outside the Beavercreek municipal building Monday. Not all joined the demonstration inside, in which protesters interrupted the beginning of the meeting to chant, “Justice for John, did you hear what we said? Young John Crawford should not be dead.” They were quickly escorted out by a large group of officers, who blocked the doors afterwards and didn’t permit anyone to come back in for public comment.
Back inside the council chambers, a resident who attended the meeting on unrelated business said he thinks Beavercreek has seen enough protests.
“It seems to me it’s wearing a little thin,” said Danny Boehm. “Everybody’s aware of the situation. We’re all human, we all make mistakes.”
A Department of Justice review of the case is ongoing; in February, demonstrators delivered letters to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio asking him to hold Beavercreek accountable for Crawford’s death. Meanwhile, John Crawford’s family has sued the city of Beavercreek, the police department and Walmart.
Citing the pending lawsuits, the mayor and the police department declined a recorded response. Police Captain Eric Grile stated that protesters were removed because they disrupted the city council meeting.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.