Shutting Down Walmart! Justice for John Crawford

December 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


December 20, 2014—Protesters held a mass civil disobedience at the Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, shutting down the store for over two hours to demand justice for a young Black man gunned down by the police at this very store.

On August 5, 22-year-old John Crawford was shot and killed at this Walmart by a Beavercreek cop responding to a report that someone was walking around the store carrying a gun. Crawford had picked up a BB gun from one of the store shelves. In September, a special grand jury failed to indict the cop, Sean Williams, on any criminal charges. And last week Crawford’s family filed a suit against the city of Beavercreek, the individual officers involved, and the Walmart corporation asking for damages in his death.

The protest at Walmat demanding justice for John Crawford took place in conjunction with other protests on the same day in Cleveland over the police killing of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black youth, in November.

About 100 protesters held a die-in at or near the aisle where John Crawford was killed. Rev. Jerome McCorry of Dayton, one of the organizers of the action, placed a bouquet of flowers on the spot were Crawford died.

Police—who had been called in from a few different local departments—ordered protesters to disperse and then evacuated the whole store. When the protest continued outside, the police targeted a Black protester, Elias Kelly, who was speaking on the megaphone and arrested him. Kelly yelled out “indict the system” as he was taken into a police car.

An angry elderly woman asked the police, “Why did you single him out?” For this, the Beavercreek police rammed into her with an SUV cruiser and then arrested her. Police arrested three more people.

Reverend McCorry, who was one of the signatories to the October 2014 Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, told reporters:

"We are here to make a very serious statement. We stand together Black and white, we stand together male and female. We stand together as a cross section of this community who just simply want to send a message that black lives do matter. Justice was not done in the case of John Crawford III...These kinds of actions will happen continuously until justice is done...We knew that victory was already ours today when Walmart had to shut the store down. We're going to see this on a continuous basis, we're going to do it until justice begins to show itself in this community and we're concerned that justice has not been done."

One woman who was shopping told a reporter: "Well, I was just shopping, you know, minding my own business and I just seen a group of people come in and they were unified and they were peaceful. I think it was wonderful that everybody is standing together, standing up for something that matters, a cause, or life. Lives that are being discredited for much of nothing... I think that it's a wonderful thing because someone lied and someone died and it's good that people are coming together for that. There needs to be justice."

One protester said, "We're here to make a statement, to question and combat a system that is in fact not broken, but operating exactly as designed. In regards to injustice toward Black people and other people of color in this country: it's exhausting us, it's killing us, and we're sick of it."

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