The 911 Call
The surveillance tape itself was only recently released, after significant efforts and pressure from local activists such as the Ohio Student Association. Though the tapes were long withheld from the public, they were shown to the key witness, 911-caller Ritchie, a decision that Crawford family attorney calls "very improper."
Police Protocols and Biases
|This time, it's Beavercreek/Dayton/Fairfield, OH|
But the system is not built for folks like John Crawford. Countless black and brown folk have experienced being followed around by storekeepers for being "suspicious" (good videos in those links!). In that split second decision, Officer Williams believed that an unarmed black boy was dangerous enough to deserve to die. It turns out, most people would make the same choice (try this psychology experiment to see for yourself).
An unarmed shopper is not supposed to get shot down in the store while chatting on his cell phone. The multiple failings that led to John Crawford death need to rectified. If the cops we doing what they were trained to do, the training needs to be revamped. If police followed protocol, the protocol needs to be changed. If they were taught to attack, they need to learn de-escalation. If they were "acting on the information they had," they need to get better information. Let me say it again: an unarmed shopper is not supposed to get shot down in the store while chatting on his cell phone.
Sometimes the enormity of these systemic problems can be overwhelming. But we are not powerless. Ask Attorney General Mike DeWine to put pressure on the Beavercreek police to reform their police training and protocols (which, when done well, is shown to reduce racial bias in shootings). While you're calling, also ask him to pressure the Beavercreek city council to withdraw funding for militarized police forces and to redirect those dollars to improve police training in their jurisdiction. Then, follow updates from the Ohio Student Association for more news and upcoming actions.