Outrage over justice for John Crawford III’s death in August took the form of a week of protesting in Beavercreek starting on Monday, Oct. 6, continuing a season of protesting to raise awareness and seek justice for gun violence at the hands of police officers.
The Ohio Student Association (OSA) members gathered in protest of the Greene County grand jury’s decision on Sept. 22 not to indict the officers responsible for Crawford’s gun-point death by local officers. Among their demands are indictment of Officer Sean Williams, the officer responsible for Crawford’s death, and that the 911 caller Ronald Ritchie, who reported Crawford receive some retribution.
Holding signs that called for fair play and highlighted the cops as killers, protesting started out at Beavercreek police headquarters, where members of OSA occupied the space for 72 hours, resulting in a blocked entrance and the station’s shut down.
The protestors’ personal belongings were confiscated, photographed and placed in bags and boxes at the station. According to the OSA’s Twitter account, their belongings were not returned until after public outcry resulted in calls to the station concerning the situation.
After meeting with police officers on Wednesday, the group of about 100 protestors was broken up, and though arrests were said to be “imminent,” no protestors were arrested.
This is not the first time the Crawford situation has sparked protest. Immediately after the incident in August, another group of people held a protest at the Beavercreek Wal-Mart. Several Wittenberg students attended, as well as Lori Askeland, professor of English,
Senior Autumn Smith, one of the students involved in the August protest, stated that “Whether it be a race issue or an issue of an innocent life being taken unjustly, those guilty should be charged, or suspended, and given just punishment.”
The decision not to indict the officers involved in Crawford’s death is, as Smith states, “to ignore basic human rights, and anyone who denies that, in support of the position of a police officer or anything, is forgetting that essential basic truth.”
Earlier in October, Ohio Open Carry activists, who promote and support the open carry laws of Ohio, gathered with pistols and assault rifles at hand to protest at the Wal-Mart where Crawford was killed in defense of his right to carry a weapon.
This past weekend also held the “Weekend of Resistance,” or “Ferguson October,” in Ferguson, Mo., where hundreds of protestors stood for justice of Mike Brown, another African-American man killed in August by police officers.
The OSA’s protesting will move to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, OH on Oct. 18, open for anyone to take part in.
As the protesting moves forward, so does investigation of Crawford’s death. On Wednesday it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office would commence reviewing Crawford’s case for violations of federal laws and civil rights.