An Ohio grand jury on Wednesday decided not to press charges against two police officers who fatally shot a man while he held a pellet gun at a Dayton-area Walmart in August, prosecutors said.
A special Green County grand jury voted not to indict two Beavercreek officers who shot and killed John Crawford III, 22, on Aug. 5 as he held a BB gun inside a local Walmart store, special prosecutor Mark Piepmeier told a news conference.
“Based on the information the responding officers had and Mr. Crawford’s failure to comply with the responding officers’ orders, the officers did what they were trained to do to protect the public,” the City of Beavercreek said in a statement.
Crawford’s death came a few days before the Aug. 9 fatal shooting by police in Ferguson, Missouri, of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, which is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department and has focused national attention on the use of deadly force by police.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appointed Piepmeier as a special prosecutor in the case to look into whether the shooting was justified.
The nine-member grand jury decided against indicting the Beavercreek officers on murder, reckless homicide or negligent homicide charges after hearing testimony from 18 witnesses and listening to and viewing hours of audio and video recordings of the incident, Piepmeier said.
A surveillance video released on Wednesday, aired on local television, showed Crawford picked up a BB gun off a shelf and strolled through the store with it until police shot him.
Michael Wright, an attorney representing Crawford’s family, was not immediately available for comment.
Officials in Beavercreek have asked the FBI to review the case to see whether Crawford’s civil rights were violated. Ohio Governor John Kasich and Attorney General DeWine called on the U.S. Justice Department to review the case.
“This is a tragedy for the Crawford family and I share the concern of many in the community that this matter must be handled with the utmost seriousness and respect,” Kasich said.