Family of John Crawford III sues Walmart, police

Tasha Thomas, John Crawford's girlfriend, was questioned for more than 90 minutes after police shot him dead in an Ohio Walmart.

By Frances Burns

DAYTON, Ohio, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The family of John Crawford III, the young man shot as he played with a toy gun in an Ohio Walmart, is suing the retail chain and police.

Also this week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released video from the interrogation of Crawford's girlfriend after the Aug. 5 shooting. Tasha Thomas was questioned for more than an hour and a half at the police station, and the video shows her being threatened with arrest and told she looks like a drug user.


The defendants include Officer Sean Williams, who shot Crawford, his partner, Sgt. David Darkow, and Denis Evers, chief of the Beavercreek Police Dept., lawyer Martin Wright said at a news conference Tuesday.

Walmart was negligent because the air rifle Crawford picked up was sitting on a shelf for several days without any packaging, Wright said. He added the store also failed to protect Crawford and other customers when a man who apparently thought Crawford was brandishing a real gun called police.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Dayton, Ohio.


Crawford was shot almost immediately after police arrived, and the lawyers said Williams and his partner failed to assess the situation. His family said he was talking on his cell phone and holding the gun not acting in a threatening way.

"You don't get a pass because you have a side arm and a shield," John Crawford Jr. said of his son's death.

A grand jury investigated the shooting and declined to indict Williams or Darkow.

On the video, a detective asks Thomas if Crawford brought a gun into the store.

"Are you under the influence of anything?" she was asked. "Your eyes are kind of messed up looking and you seem a little lethargic."

Latest Headlines