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Wal-Mart And Police Sued After Man Fatally Shot In Ohio Store

Attorneys for the family of John Crawford, the 22-year-old black man killed in an Ohio Walmart in August, has filed a lawsuit against the police and the company. Lawyers say they found evidence that Crawford was shot ".36 seconds" after being confronted by police.

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The family of John Crawford III filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Walmart and the Beavercreek, Ohio, police officers involved in the fatal shooting of the 22-year-old, family attorneys announced at a press conference.

The lawsuit names Beavercreek Officer Sean Williams, Officer David Darkow, Police Chief Dennis Evers, the City of Beavercreek, and Wal-Mart Corporation.

On Aug. 5, Williams and Darkow responded to a 911 call of a man waving a gun and pointing it at customers inside the Beavercreek store. The caller later recanted his statement that Crawford was waving the gun and pointing it at people in the store.

Inside the store, Williams encountered Crawford, who was holding a toy air rifle. Williams shot him twice while he was holding the air rifle and Crawford later died at a Dayton hospital.

Video surveillance revealed that Williams shot Crawford a fraction of a second after confronting him and demanding he drop the weapon.

The Crawford family's attorneys said that they have magnified the audio and video from the surveillance footage, and it shows that the officer shot Crawford ".36 seconds" after asking him to drop the gun.

The family's attorneys said they have obtained evidence that shows the air rifle was left out on the store shelf, out of the box, for "at least two days."

"[Wal-mart] is just as culpable as the Beavercreek officers," Attorney Sean Williams said.

In a statement, Wal-mart spokesman Brian Nick defended the action of the store's employees.

"Our condolences go out to the families who lost loved ones. Out of respect for everyone involved, we believe it's not appropriate to discuss the specifics of this matter, but we can say that our associates acted properly," Nick said. "We take the safety and security of our stores very seriously so that Walmart remains a safe shopping experience for our customers."

On Sept 24, a grand jury declined to indict the officers involved. Williams and Darkow remain on administrative duty.

At a news conference announcing the grand jury's decision, Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier presented approximately 20 minutes of surveillance video from inside the Walmart on the day that Crawford was killed.

Piepmeier also announced that the shooting is currently under federal civil rights investigation by the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI.

The attorneys said that the initial lawsuit will ask for $75,000 — the minimum required to enter the claim in federal court — and as the case progresses, the number will increase.

Read the Crawford family's federal complaint in the case of John Crawford III's death.

Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mike Hayes at mike@buzzfeed.com.

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