Civil rights leaders in Dayton, Ohio announced plans on Wednesday to rally at the federal courthouse to protest the decision not to charge the officer who fatally shot John Crawford III in 2014, Fox 45 reports.
“This man is dead in an open carry state, and we have all kinds of excuses,” the Rev. Jerome McCorry told Fox 45. “We’re sick and tired of police officers getting off by saying ‘I was scared for my life, I thought they were doing this, I thought they were doing that’.”
Beavercreek, Ohio police Officer Sean Williams, who is White, responded to a call about a man waving a rifle in a Wal-Mart store. Williams said that Crawford, 22, failed to obey his commands, and fearing for his life, Williams shot Crawford.
Crawford, it turned out, was holding an air rifle he removed from a store shelf.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that there’s insufficient evidence to charge Williams with a possible civil rights violation, NBC News reported. Before federal involvement, a special grand jury had declined to indict the officer.
The DOJ said its investigation included an analysis of store surveillance video, witness interviews, and the analysis of an independent crime scene reconstruction expert.
Federal prosecutors said the government could not satisfy the burden of proving that Williams intended to violate Crawford’s rights and disprove that the officer did not fear for his life, NBC News reported.
Michael Wright, the attorney representing Crawford’s family, said the criminal justice process has been frustratingly long and fruitless.
“The family is very upset. They’re still grieving,” he told the Associated Press. “And now it appears there’s no recourse and that nothing will be done through the criminal justice system. It’s almost like these guys are getting away with murder.”
Crawford’s family has a pending civil lawsuit. It claims that Crawford was “shot on sight,” and names the Beavercreek police and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as defendants, according to NBC News.
Meanwhile, the protesters are preparing for the July 22 rally.