Man Who Made 911 Call That Led to John Crawford’s Death Admits He Lied

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Ritchie, left, and Crawford
Ritchie, left, and Crawford

John Crawford III was killed by Ohio police on Aug. 5 because they apparently thought the toy gun he had just purchased from the Wal-Mart in Beavercreek was real, but now the white man who called 911 to report Crawford has admitted he lied to police.

On the call, 24-year-old Ronald Ritchie, who was originally described as an “ex-Marine,” described a black man walking around the store with the weapon. “He’s, like, pointing it at people,” Ritchie told the 911 operator. He also said he saw Crawford loading bullets into the supposed weapon.

But in an interview with The Guardian, Ritchie is retracting his story, saying, “at no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody.” Though Ritchie stood by his statement that Crawford was “waving (the gun) around,” attorney Michael Wright says the Wal-Mart surveillance video of the incident refutes that claim.

Wright, who is representing Crawford’s family who was allowed to watch the surveillance video, said Crawford was facing away from the officers and probably didn’t hear them because he was talking on the phone with his girlfriend, who was with his parents at the time.

The attorney said as Crawford leaned on the pellet gun like a cane, he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police.

In the Guardian interview, Ritchie defended his 911 call by saying, “Even still, it’s a gun in Wal-Mart, in a public place, inducing panic.” Ironically, Ohio has an “open carry” law allowing people to carry a rifle in public.

During the chaos created by the police shooting of Crawford, a 37-year-old woman also died from heart failure.

 

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