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Beavercreek Police Shooting Lawsuit To Proceed

Jan 16, 2019

Credit WCBE files

A wrongful-death lawsuit related to the shooting of John Crawford III inside a Beavercreek Walmart store more than four years ago took a step forward this week.

Crawford’s relatives brought the suit against the Beavercreek Police Department and Walmart after a federal investigation into the shooting closed two years ago. Tuesday, a federal judge ruled the case can proceed to a jury trial. Jess Mador of member station WYSO in Yellow Springs has more.

The facts of John Crawford’s shooting have been widely reported:

 

Officer Sean Williams -- who is white -- shot Crawford -- who was black -- as Crawford held an unloaded pellet gun in the Walmart store’s sporting goods department. No criminal charges were brought against Williams.

 

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice decided a jury will now hear the case.

 

His 76-page decision highlights key questions the jury will consider.

 

Among them: whether officer Williams perceived Crawford was an imminent threat to police or others when Williams pulled the trigger. And whether Crawford's constitutional rights were violated.

 

In a statement, an attorney for the City of Beavercreek said it would be inappropriate to comment on the decision since the case is ongoing.

 

Crawford family attorney Michael Wright was also unable to comment directly on the decision but says he’s satisfied the case will proceed to trial.

 

The trial is set to begin February 4.