Southwest Ohio Police Officer Who Shot John Crawford III Says He Felt "Imminent Threat"

Jan 4, 2018

There’s new information about the fatal police shooting of John Crawford III, a black man who was killed by white police officer Sean Williams in a Dayton area Walmart in 2014.

In a deposition related to a federal wrongful death lawsuit, officer Sean Williams said he did not see Crawford point a gun at anyone at the Walmart store.

The police officer said he shot 22-year-old Crawford because he felt Crawford was “about to” aim a rifle at him and felt an imminent threat. Officer Williams was responding to a 911 call about someone waving a gun in the Walmart store. Police later learned Crawford was holding an air rifle from a store shelf.

Crawford family attorney Michael Wright said they feel the new information confirms their belief that justice was not served in the case.

“So they are upset, and they continue to be upset because this case continues to linger. There’s no resolution on the criminal side of this case, there’s no resolution on the civil side of this case. So four years later, they still have no justice,” Wright said.

Officer Williams was cleared of wrongdoing by a Greene County grand jury in 2014. Last summer, the Justice Department announced there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue charges of civil rights violations in the case. Williams was returned to full duty shortly afterward.

The wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by the Crawford family is expected to go to trial this fall.