BEAVERCREEK — The Beavercreek police officer who fatally shot a man inside Walmart in August 2014 will not be charged.
The US Department of Justice announced July 11 that it is closing the investigation into the death of John Crawford III after failing to find sufficient evidence to indict Sean Williams — the officer who shot Crawford — or Sgt. David Darcow, who was also on the scene.
“This investigation revealed that the evidence is insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Officer Williams violated federal civil rights laws,” according to a statement from the DOJ. “In conducting the review, federal authorities were tasked with determining whether Officer Williams violated federal law by willfully using unreasonable force against Mr. Crawford. To establish willfulness, federal authorities would be required to show that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids. Mistake, misperception, negligence, necessity, or poor judgment are not sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation.”
Security footage shows Crawford taking a call and then walking around the store. He then takes a BB gun off the store shelf. In another shot, Crawford can be seen holding the pellet gun. Police say a customer assumed it was a real gun. He called 911 and officers responded.
Williams and Darcow found Crawford and according to police reports, the officers confronted him, demanding he drop his weapon, seconds later Williams shot Crawford. Both officers say Crawford didn’t obey their commands.
The case sparked a national outcry, with protesters saying the officers didn’t give Crawford enough time to react.
In a statement released July 12, the Beavercreek Police Department reamins behind its officers.
“The events of Aug. 5, 2014 were tragic and the Beavercreek Police Department wishes the outcome of that evening had been different. The Beavercreek Police Department has maintained the officers committed no criminal violations and followed accepted law enforcemtn protocol in their response to the report of an active threat in the Walmart store. The Beavercreek Police Department has fully cooperated with all investigations of this event and will continue to maintain the highest organizational values and constantly seek to uphold the trust of all citizens.”
The DOJ said the Crawford family informed of its decision.
“[We are] somewhat angry, somewhat disappointed,” Crawford family attorney Michael Wright told WDTN. “It’s been three years. The family believes as I do. That there is ample evidence to move forward with these officers.”
A civil suit against the two officers, the Beavercreek police chief, the Beavercreek Police Department, the City of Beavercreek and Walmart is still pending.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507. Our partners at WDTN contributed to this story.
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