Ohio’s attorney general fights release of video from Walmart shooting: ‘Trust the system’

Sandusky Register

A special grand jury is expected to get underway later this month reviewing evidence in the shooting death of a 21-year-old black man inside a Walmart store Aug. 5.

But Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWIne still won’t release surveillance video from the store that family members say proves John Crawford III was innocent when police officers killed him.

Police in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek said they shot Crawford after he waved an air rifle at customers and refused officers’ orders to drop it.  

A family attorney who reviewed the video said the surveillance shows that to be “absolutely incorrect.”

Crawford was simply holding his phone in one hand. In the other he was holding an air rifle he had picked up off a store shelf and intended to buy.

“I have sent this request to BCI for processing,” DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney told the Register when asked for a copy of the video.

The Register and other media companies contend the video is a public record and any regulations potentially exempting it from disclosure were voided when it was viewed by the family’s attorney and Crawford’s father.

Tierney does not normally send public records requests to BCI “for processing.”

“You are unlikely to receive any responsive records by your arbitrary deadline,” Tierney told the Register.

State law requires a reasonable time be allowed for response to a public records request. The Register asked Tierney about setting a reasonable time for response to the request; it did not set a deadline for one.

The Register has since requested the assistance of the public records mediation service in the attorney general’s office in obtaining the video.

DeWine showed the video to Crawford’s father and the attorney after a protest outside his office Aug. 18.

DeWine said he showed them 4 minutes of video of the shooting. He declined to discuss details of what the surveillance video shows.

LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford’s children, was on the phone with him when he was shot, according to the Dayton Daily News.

“[The] next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him… I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”

DeWine called for patience in response to the protest.

DeWine said previously his investigators would work as quickly as possible to turn over to the grand jury evidence including more than 200 photos of the shooting scene, interviews of more than 75 witnesses, 911 recordings and the video footage from as many as 203 cameras inside the Wal-Mart.

“We have an obligation to leave no stone unturned and do everything we can to get that evidence in,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people on this case, and they’ve been working very, very hard, and they’re going to continue to do that.”

The FBI’s office in Cincinnati, an hour’s drive southwest of Beavercreek, said it would be monitoring the state’s investigation.

“No stone unturned” is the same phrase DeWine used to describe his attitude about getting to the bottom of a sexual harassment investigation in his office last year of a personal friend of DeWine’s who works at the AG’s office.

The identity of DeWine’s friend was never determined, however, and the investigation was ended after DeWine met with the independent investigator conducting the harassment probe and demanded confidential information from her.

DeWine later asked a local prosecutor to consider felony criminal charges against the investigator after she documented DeWine’s interference in the investigation.

The woman who made the harassment complaint is no longer employed with the office.


The Associated Press contributed to this article.


2 thoughts on “Ohio’s attorney general fights release of video from Walmart shooting: ‘Trust the system’

  1. I don’t have to see the video because there’s only one reason for hiding it. If this wasn’t just another instance of a cop murdering an innocent man, that video would be on the evening news.

    And we’re only hearing about this at all because the murdered man was black, and the incident can be used to further inflame racial tensions.

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