The time termed by some as “Black August” due to the summer month’s momentous track record concerning Blacks in America., such as the launching of the Underground Railroad, The March on Washington, the start of Nat Turner’s rebellions, W.E.B. death in Ghana, The San Quentin Six and a host of other landmarks in time for the Black experience occurred during August. 2014’s has started off with a with harsh lashed from the chastening rod with the murders of two young Black men at the hands of police officers. The shooting death of 18-year-old Mike Brown days before he was supposed to start college in Ferguson, MO has added fuel to the unquenched fires sparked by July’s NYPD public killing of husband and father, Eric Garner and California Highway Patrol officer’s pummeling of 51 year-old grandmother, Marlene Pinnock.
However, in the midst of that, one police slaying has snuck under the radar to many. This would be the death of 22-year-old father of two, John Crawford. Crawford was gunned down inside a Beavercreek, Ohio, Wal-Mart by officers of the town’s police detail whilst supposedly holding a toy gun.
Crawford went to the Wal-Mart with his girlfriend, Tasha Thomas on Tuesday night. At some point during the shopping trip, Crawford and Thomas separated and he got on his phone with the mother of his two children, LeeCee Johnson. According to the DailyMail, Johnson said, “We [were] just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were.”
What very well may have just been a father looking for some toys for his children looked suspicious to another shopper who called 9-1-1. The scared shopper is reported as saying, “There is a gentleman walking around with a gun in the store…He’s like pointing it at people.”
As Crawford talked to Johnson, she heard him yell, “It’s not real,” to the responding officers, Sgt. David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams of the Beavercreek PD. The officers say that gave a verbal command Crawford to drop his weapon. According to Johnson, “…they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him.” She then heard him as he writhed in pain on the ground. “And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”Chief Dennis Evers declared, “Officers confronted the subject inside the store area near the pet supplies holding a rifle. The officers gave verbal command to the subject to drop the weapon. The subject later identified as John Crawford was shot after failing to comply with the officer’s commands.”
Sadly, 37-year-old Angela Williams died due to medical complications during the store’s evacuation.
If you were planning to attend one of the various National Moment of Silence demonstrations happening across the country on Thursday at 7PM EST (4PM PST), remember John Crawford with those of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and the myriad unarmed Black people killed by the police.