Reply to "Protesters Call For The Release Of Surveillance Video Showing Officers Killing John Crawford"

In March of 2012 a man in Pasadena, California, called 911 and claimed that he'd been robbed at gunpoint. Officers were dispatched and not long afterward 19-year-old college student Kendrec McDade lay dead of police-fired gunshots.

Police claimed they had chased McDade. That he had behaved "suspciously." They even claimed they "heard shots" they thought McDade fired at them.

According to prosecutors, McDade fled on foot up Sunset Street with his right hand at his waist. As he ran, Officer Griffin sped past him in a patrol cruiser and blocked the street as Officer Newlen chased him on foot. McDade was about to run past the cruiser when he turned and ran directly toward the cruiser where Griffin was seated.

"He left the sidewalk and he's running at me," Griffin told investigators. "This -- this scares the crap out of me. I don't know why he is running at me. He's still clutching his waistband. I think he's got a gun. I'm stuck in the car. I got nowhere to go."

Fearing for his life, Griffin said he fired four times through the open driver's side window. McDade was two or three feet away. Griffin said he then ducked down to his right to avoid being hit by shots he expected from McDade. He heard two shots and believed McDade had fired at him.


He described seeing McDade walk toward the rear of the car and crouch down. Newlen saidhe heard a second gunshot at that point and saw muzzle flash. Believing McDade was firing at him, Newlen fired four or five shots at McDade, who fell to the ground after being hit.

Yet as it turned out, McDade was only armed with a cellphone, not a gun. There was no "second gunshot." There was no "muzzle flash." All of this was suspicious behavior was apparently in the officer's head.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.


McDade did not die right away. He was handcuffed in the street for an extended period, while any first aid was denied. He died later at the hospital.

Despite all these facts the officers were found to have been "within policy" and the shooting ruled "Justified" even though pretty much none of what Officer Griffin or Newlen described was even possible if McDade didn't have a gun, (unless the "muzzle flash" Newlen saw was actually Griffin firing at McDade, not McDade firing at him). Letting him lay in he street handcuffed and wounded without aid certainly didn't improve his chances of survival. (All of this may be why the city of Pasadena paid his parents over $1 million in compensation.) Instead prosecutors focused on the 911 caller who had lied about being robbed of his computer at gunpoint in the first place in order to make sure that police didn't ignore his call.

In addition to confusion over who was firing shots, the two officers were operating on a false premise that McDade had committed an armed robbery. Oscar Carrillo, who reported that his computer had been stolen, had falsely told police that he had been robbed at gunpoint and later claimed he saw what he thought was the barrel of a gun.
Carillo was arrested for involuntary manslaughter in his involvement in McDade's death.  Although that charge was dropped, he ultimately pled guilty to filing a false report and served 90 days in jail.

So what I want to know is after Ronald Ritchie called 911 in the Beavercreak, Ohio Walmart claiming that John Crawford was brandishing a AR-15, trying to load it and pointing it at customers—why he isn't being charged with manslaughter for lying to 911 since all Crawford actually had was a BB gun from the store's toy section. The store video shows he never pointed it at anyone, it was unloaded, and that he was actually leaning on it like a cane when officers arrived and shot him dead before he could even turn around to face or respond to them?

Initially when on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, Ritchie claimed he was "pointing the gun at children" and "trying to load it."

But that's not what the video shows:

Police claim Crawford ignored their commands to drop the weapon, and the former Marine who called in the report and witnessed the shooting said Crawford “looked like he was going to go violently.”

But Attorney Michael Wright said surveillance video from the incident, which Ohio’s attorney general allowed him to watch with Crawford’s family, contradicted those accounts.

John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said.

The attorney said surveillance video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police.

Now that's of course the attorney's view of things and they're going to shade it to the benefit of his clients, the family. It would be simple to release the video, as we've seen many other videos of police shootings including the shooting of Kajeime Johnson Powell in St. Louis, or the video of Michael Brown in the convenience store prior to his shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, but apparently Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine thinks allowing people to actually see what happened, would be "tainting the jury pool."
DeWine said Tuesday he was glad he had allowed Crawford’s family to view the surveillance video, but he did not plan to publicly release the video to avoid tainting the jury pool.

“I thought the family had the right to view it,” DeWine said. “The mom did not want to view it; I understand it. The dad did view it, (but) to put the video out on TV is not the right thing to do.

“I think that it is playing with dynamite, frankly, to release that tape at this point,” DeWine said. “And I think the dynamite simply is that it blows up and you can’t get a fair trial.That’s what we worry about.”

Can't get a fair trial—for who exactly? The police have already been exonerated in this by their own department. I mean, they almost always are aren't they? Could Dewine be tacitly admitting that the video shows what Crawford's father says it does?
It was an execution, no doubt about it,” his father said. “It was flat-out murder — and when you see the footage, it will illustrate that.”
Yeah, that just could be dynamite if the public actually had a chance to see it rather than police selectively releasing what they want to the media to protect the people who should be the suspects in a killing.

Or might that be the trial of this guy?  


Or perhaps not since the AG office apparently showed Ritchie the video...

Attorney General Mike DeWine has so far refused, saying it would be “playing with dynamite” to do so prior to a grand jury hearing scheduled for Sept. 22.

However, Ritchie claims he was shown the video by officials in the attorney general’s bureau of criminal investigation—and Wright said he intends to file a complaint with DeWine.

“That is very improper,” Wright said, arguing that Ritchie’s statement should be based only on his own recollections.

And Ritche now has adjusted his story accordingly after previously saying he was "pointing the gun at children"...
At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” he said, although he continued to insist Crawford was “waving it around.”

“Even still, it’s a gun in Walmart, in a public place, inducing panic,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie said Crawford turned toward the officer after hearing the order, then tried to run to his right, causing the muzzle to swing toward the officer.

“Then he got back up and tried to either go for the rifle or go for one of the officers,” Ritchie said. “But the officer had him on the ground before he got to either target.”

"It's a gun in Walmart, in a public place, inducing panic." Yet the only panicked person up to the point that the police arrived and started shooting was Ritchie.  Which is besides the point that Ohio has an open carry law.

It's even part of the Ohio State Constitution.

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.
But apparently that right does not exist, for John Crawford.

Interesting that at no point does Ritchie, even after seeing the tape and clearly having ample opportunity to be informed of facts, admit that all Crawford had was a BB gun, that he never tried to load it, or that he was leaning on it like a cane, so it wasn't in "firing position" at all. Nor did Crawford appear to even physically react to the officers at all on the tape according to Wright.

“Based on the video that we saw, it did not even appear that he knew they were there,” Wright said. “He doesn’t look at the officers, he doesn’t turn his body towards the officers. It’s as if he was just shot on sight by the officers.”
Does it seem right to anyone else that the person who apparently filed a false report that resulted in an innocent unarmed man being shot to death—not to mention the second shopper who in the panic and excitement caused by the shooting died of a heart condition on the scene—should be granted access to the video to help him clean up his story rather than being treated as a suspect? If Dewine doesn't want to taint the jury pool, don't you think he also wouldn't want to taint the witnesses? Particular one who IMO should probably be a suspect for trying to create a SWATing event against Crawford?

Ritchie made demonstrably false claims to the 911 dispatcher that put the police in the "deadly force" frame of mind in exactly the same manner that Carillo's false report did in California. Both sets of LIES contributed to the death of innocent, unarmed, men.

Maybe I'm strange, but I think this just plain smells.