911 Caller Involved in Wrongful Death of John Crawford III Will Not be Charged

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Ritchie, left, and Crawford
Ronald Ritchie, left, and John Crawford

The 911 caller who suspected that a Black man was holding and pointing a gun in an Ohio Walmart will not be charged for the call that resulted in the man’s death.

In August of 2014, 22-year-old John Crawford III was at a Beavercreek, Ohio Walmart holding a toy BB gun when he was gunned down by officers.

The 911 caller, Ronald Ritchie, was walking down the aisle and saw the man.

“He’s, like, pointing it at people,” Ritchie told the 911 operator.

When officers arrived on scene, they believed Crawford had a real weapon. Officers said Crawford didn’t respond to commands to put down the gun. While there was video of the incident, there was no sound to confirm officers’ statements on the shooting.

Atlanta Black Star reported that Fairborn, Ohio Municipal Court Judge Beth Root found there was probable cause to prosecute Ritchie for making false reports. In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Ritchie revealed that he was not completely honest about the details leading up to Crawford’s death.

According to her ruling, there was not probable cause to prosecute Ritchie for inciting violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide. Judge Root also recommended that the case be referred to a prosecutor.

According to the Associated Press, attorney Mark Piepmeier decided Monday that there should be no charges brought against Ritchie.

Piepmeier is the same prosecutor who presented the shooting case to a grand jury in 2014. The grand jury concluded that the shooting of Crawford  was justified.

In his Monday decision, Piepmeier wrote:

“I don’t find any evidence that Mr. Ritchie knew any of the information he was providing was false. The original 911 call from Mr. Ritchie was basically, ‘I’m at the Beavercreek Walmart and there is a man walking around with a gun in the store.’ The remainder of his conversation was mostly answers in response to questions from the dispatcher.”

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