An independent journalist was arrested by Beavercreek Police during a protest against the shooting of an unarmed African American father, talking on his cellphone with the mother of his child and his own mother, who were baby-sitting. That man, John Crawford, was on his way to a cookout and stopped at Walmart for some things.
While talking on the phone, he picked up a legal, non-lethal air rifle toy that was open and on the shelves. He looked at it while speaking on the phone in the most remote aisle of the store.
Surveillance footage shows that no shoppers were threatened, nor were they panicking. Several shoppers came down the same aisle and saw he was no threat.
Even though he was immersed in a conversation, officers who arrived on the scene did not even give him two seconds to respond to their orders. As he turned to look, even while the toy was pointing away from the officers, he was shot by Beavercreek officer Sean Williams.
Protests have erupted on the streets of Greene County Ohio ever since. But at some of the more recent protests, officers have amped up their response: escalating violence against protesters and inciting rather than deescalating.
At the Christmas Eve “die in” at the Fairfield Commons Mall, right across the street from the Walmart where John Crawford was killed, several members of the media were threatened with arrest after they identified themselves as reporters and news photographers. One of them was Virgil Vaduva of the Greene County Herald. Unbeknownst to the police, the journalist’s cell phone continued to record the interaction with police and other arrestees, capturing what happened behind the “thin blue line” when police believed that nobody was recording.
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