It has long been believed that the hot summer months do something to the human psyche, altering it to be seemingly more aggressive and quicker to anger. Though there is no scientific evidence to support this notion, many African Americans may look at the unfortunate events involving the shooting deaths of young Black males across America and believe this notion to be fact. Since August 1, there have been three situations involving police officers that resulted in the deaths of young Black men who were unarmed. On August 5, John H. Crawford III was shot and killed by a police officer inside of a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio while carrying an air rifle he had picked up off the shelf at the retailer. Last week, Crawford’s family was joined by attorney Michael Wright in a press conference calling for answers as Beavercreek police officials say the officer that fired the shots followed proper protocol. In an exclusive interview with The Shadow League, Wright says he and Crawford’s family are pulling out all stops in their quest for justice.
“We initially wanted to get the surveillance video from Walmart,” said. “We will be in a better position to determine the next step whether it will be sometime of prosecution of the officers involved, some kind of action against Walmart, or some type of action against the manufacturer of these BB guns we just don’t know yet until we get all of the information.”
Initial reports read that the Montgomery County (OH) coroner announced Crawford’s death as a homicide. For some, this seemed to be a positive thing that would ultimately lead to charges being filed. However, Mr. Wright informed us that the homicide designation may not necessarily be a predicator for charges criminal charges being filed.
“Any killing of a person by someone else is considered a homicide. It could very well be that it’s determined to be a justifiable homicide. We would hope that that’s not the case. But a homicide simply means that someone was killed at the hands of someone else.”
Though the story has been in the news consistently for about two weeks, it has been largely drowned out from a media perspective, being sandwiched in time between the death of Eric Garner and Mike Brown.
"The local media has given the case coverage. We went live on CNN and all of the local stations and papers covered the press conference. I think that some people are afraid that the story may cause riots, etc. The full story hasn't been released and the initial press report lead readers to believe that he some how deserved what happen. In reality he does not have a record, he is a young father and comes from a good family. This is happening too often,” added Wright’s publicist Michele Roy.
From the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, to the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO, the shooting of John H. Crawford III, and the recent shooting of 24-year-old Ezel Ford by the Los Angeles Police on Tuesday, it truly appears as if it is open season on Black males across the country. People are looking for answers and the buck inevitably stops on the federal level. However, Wright believes it would be extremely difficult for the federal government to enact any rule changes that would make officers less likely to use deadly force when it comes to African American males.
“It would be difficult, from a federal perspective, to legislate racism. So, I think that would be very difficult. Maybe having folks get a better understanding of one another so that people won’t be apprehensive around another set of people. I can’t answer that question. I don’t know what it would take for people to have a reaction to the young black male when they are in close proximity to them.”
“I listened to the 911 calls. There was only one call to 911 prior to the shooting. All of the other calls to 911 took place after the shooting. That person was a white male.”
Since racism is as hard to legislate as it is to prove in court, Wright and the Crawford family are meticulously attempting to get to the bottom of this sordid affair so that justice may ultimately rule the day.
“We’ve contacted the Beavercreek Police Department, the Beavercreek law office, the Ohio Attorney General’s office, in addition to the U.S. District Attorney’s office. We are seeking to get copies of the video, the communications between the Beavercreek Police Department and Walmart security or lack thereof. We’re just trying to get all the facts so that we can determine who is the culpable party in this tragic incident.”
“I think putting pressure on the local politicians, putting pressure on the local police departments and the local officials and letting them know that we’re not going to stand by and let the police and the powers that be have open season on young black men,” he continued.
Though the process may prove to be arduous and drawn out, the Crawford family appears primed and ready for the long haul. A black man has died and a family is left to pick up the pieces.
“John H. Crawford III was a father of two young boys. He had a one-year-old that was named after him, John Crawford IV, and a four-month-old. He was a son, the only child of Tressa Sherrod and John Crawford, Jr. He was loved. He was, by all accounts, a good, fun-loving, respectful young man.”