No indictment in death of John Crawford

I refuse to use the copy of this image that crops out the child. As a dad myself, I know full well that feeling of holding your child for the first time. This man died for no reason of his own, and I refuse to treat him as some kind of criminal.

I just watched video of another Black man getting shot and killed by the police.  Even though Crawford was killed on August 5th, the surveillance video from the Wal-Mart in Beavercreek, Ohio where he was shot and killed was just released today.

I knew better than to watch the video because I already knew how this would transpire within my mind and on my conscience.  Once again, I’m asking myself, “why do you torture yourself like this?  You already know what happened and how the judicial system will deal with this.”

If there is a threat that any officer would see as reasonable, then the appropriate use of force necessary to stop the threat will always be considered justified in the justice system, whether an average person see it or not.  In this case, the presence of a gun would elevate things to deadly force if necessary.

Listening to the 911 call, you would think that the Wal-Mart was being held up or some crazed gunman was on the loose.  The caller (I refuse to use his name) told the operator that he pointed the gun at people, waved it around, and even pointed the gun at kids.  That sounds like something crazy, right?  Looking at the surveillance video corresponding to the time of the 911 call, you can see that the caller is telling a complete and utter bullsh*t story.

There are people walking around Crawford and shopping, completely unafraid of this man who is supposed to be waving this gun around and pointing it at people.  Crawford is actually swinging the gun back and forth in a pendulum motion in a corner of the store all by himself while he’s talking on the phone.

When the officers get there, it’s not two seconds before shots are fired and Crawford is down.

Honestly, I can’t fault the responding officers as much as some others do.  They are responding to a scene based upon what they’ve been told by the operator, who has told them what she’s getting from the eyewitness caller.  Second guessing the officer’s actions, maybe they could have taken a few seconds to access things themselves before taking action.  Watching Crawford for a few seconds may have been enough time for them to realize that he wasn’t pointing the gun at anyone or was any kind of threat.

An alternate take on that though would be that, in a few seconds, an active shooter could drop several people with well placed shots.  In this particular case, however, the only shots that were fired came from police officers.

In addition, Ohio is an Open Carry state, so Crawford could have legally walked around with a rifle as long as he was not breaking any laws.  In respect to that fact, I have not seen the NRA or Open Carry Ohio make any kind of statement about this case.  I’m going to assume that this would also be the case had Crawford been one of the Second Amendmenteers who walk around with their protest rifles to express their constitutionally protected rights.  As there’s been no statement made, it makes me wonder if those rights are only considered sacrosanct for certain people.  That’s a different post for a different day though.

The Feds have announced they will investigate this incident, but I don’t expect much to come from that as well.

What should happen, in my view, is that the 911 caller should have to face murder charges for lying about the entire incident.  It’s already been documented that he changed his story AFTER he was able to view the security camera footage.  An innocent man is dead because of his lies, and that child pictured above will grow up without his father.  No amount of money can change that.

My wife and I are expecting our third child within the next month.  We don’t know the sex of the child, and we’re waiting until birth to find out.  I feel bad about being frightened about bringing a Black male into this world right now based on things going on.  Between Black on Black crime and the targeting of young Black men based on stereotypes, I’m not sure if it’s a wise idea to have a son that looks just like me.

People say that it all comes down to parenting, but that obviously isn’t the case as John Crawford has proven.  For some people, our lives are in the hands of those around us who judge us based on stereotypes and prejudices, and those judgments are not always within our control to shape or influence.

 

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5 thoughts on “No indictment in death of John Crawford

  1. I think the 911 caller should face two murder charges. A woman died from a heart attack as she ran from the store after this incident.

    Here’s what I hate: if I had seen that gun lying open and unattended in the store and had picked it up to take it to a manager and someone had seen me carrying it around, it’s highly unlikely anyone would have called 911 and almost beyond imagining that the police would have shot on sight as they did with that poor guy.

    I understand your feelings about trying to raise a black son in this society. Still, someone managed to bring you up right. There’s a lot of bad luck out there in the world, but it’s not reserved for boys. I would hate for your worry — however well justified — to rob you of the joy you and your wife have coming. Boy or girl, chances are your child will grow up fine.

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    • I didn’t think about that second death. I see nothing wrong with trying him for both as he was the catalyst for them both.

      I’m trying to figure out where the gun rights groups are on this one as Ohio is an open carry state, and Crawford did absolutely nothing illegal that deserved such a response.

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  2. “. . . I have not seen the NRA or Open Carry Ohio make any kind of statement about this case.”

    And you won’t, either. Nor will you see them ever holding a firearm safety clinic in anything but a majority-white area.

    You were dead-on when you pointed out that some bonehead like Cliven Bundy can wave around a piece and jabber incoherently about blowing holes in Federal law enforcement agents, but an unarmed (or in this case, armed within his rights but not doing a SINGLE THREATENING THING) minority is a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later kind of situation. It just tears me up to see and recognize that we’ve come to that. And I hate to say it, but I don’t think it’s going to change until *shooters* in those cases start getting *their* lives ruined as well, most likely with stiff civil penalties and lengthy jail time.

    I’ve said this on Jay Bookman’s blog before (I don’t participate there any longer because it’s really just the same people saying the same things over and over again), but my thoughts on gun control are like this: you can have any kind of firearm you want and can physically carry (except for machineguns and military-style assault weapons, but you ALSO accept full, complete and TOTAL liability for each and every round you put downrange, and that’s held to a strict liability standard of law. In other words, if you’re so sure that your marksmanship skills are aces, then go ahead and shoot at the guy you think is a public danger. Just remember that every bystander you hit (or their survivors) is going to get a big wet, juicy bite out of every piece of property you own and every dollar you will ever make — and that you don’t get a day in court to discuss your motivations. If it was *your* bullet that killed the innocent bystander, then *you* are completely and fully liable for that bystander’s wrongful death, period. Plus, that debt will pursue you past the grave — meaning that if you still haven’t satisfied the judgment, then your heirs will be sharing your life insurance payout with that bystander’s widow.

    I know you’re an LEO, Brosephus, and I know you’re not the kind of LEO who would fire unless it was truly a life-or-death situation. That said, I think there are enough trigger-happy cops and kill-crazy open-carry primates in this country to justify a serious conversation about making folks LIABLE for the misuse of their LEO powers *or* their Second Amendment freedoms.

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    • JHM

      I’ve seen some in training, and I don’t trust some LEOs. Look at the South Carolina Trooper that shot the guy reaching for his license AFTER the trooper ordered him to get it. That guy got fired, but why should that incident have happened in the first place?

      Why is it that some Black men have to prove their innocence in order to wipe the stain of guilt away from them, even though they have done nothing to deserve that guilt? There are Whites that are treated that way, but it’s more of an economic thing in that case. Rich White men don’t get guns drawn on them for a traffic stop, but some poor White guy may.

      I know the “be prepared for anything mentality” and I understand the consequences of being caught with your guard down. That doesn’t give you free reign to go around gunning people down just because they might have been thinking about an idea of how to research a method to plan on how to harm you or perform some criminal act.

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      • Brosephus, I agree with you all the way. And I recognize that it’s a racial thing; my Hispanic wife was once detained for an hour on a Florida highway on suspicion of drug-running. She was pulled over and told she had a taillight out (she didn’t). The LEO then tried to claim that either her license or plates were expired (both were current and valid). Then, when backup arrived, they claimed to have an APB out for a red sports car (my wife drove a red 4-door sedan) and demanded she allow them to search her car.

        She refused to consent to the search and repeatedly asked if she was under arrest. The LEOs wanted to know why she wouldn’t allow them to and she told them bluntly that she didn’t trust them after the taillight claim, the license claim and the plate claim all turned out to be false. She also wanted to know how come *other* red cars on the road weren’t being pulled over, especially the sporty models. The LEOs asked how well I knew my wife and if she had ever been to Florida before; they also wanted to know how many weapons we had in the car. Not *if* we had any — but *how many* we *had.* They also asked me to authorize the search; I declined and pointed out that I wasn’t the owner of the car. I did ask them if they’d let me search *their* cars first.

        Eventually, a Mercedes pulled up with a graying, middle-aged white man in it. The man spoke to the LEOs for several minutes and next thing we knew, we were allowed to proceed without further incident.

        And about a week later, we got a very apologetic letter from the county DA, expressing regret at how we were treated and hope that we wouldn’t view Florida negatively based on that one incident.

        Well, gosh, Mr. DA . . . If a cop can view a black man negatively based on nothing and then shoot him dead just like that, I guess my wife and I can view Florida negatively based on our hour-long encounter with a bunch of lyin-azz cops, whatsay?

        Just out of curiosity, Brosephus — do LE organizations have some means or method for identifying and remediating (or kicking out) officers who are generally too quick to pull the trigger? If so, can you share any information on that?

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