In a press release earlier today, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that a team of special prosecutors would lead the investigation and potential prosecution of the officer who killed John Crawford III in a Beavercreek Wal-Mart on August 5, 2014.
Mark Piepmeierand and Stacey DeGraffenreid were appointed Tuesday by the Ohio Attorney General to investigate the fatal shooting. Mark Piepmeierand will lead the effort, and both are assistant prosecuting attorneys in Hamilton County. The appointment took place after the Greene County prosecutor indicated that they could not take the case in order to avoid a conflict of interest.
The attorney for the Crawford family, Michael Wright disagreed with the decision and stated, “We need Mike DeWine to refer this case to the Department of Justice. Not to a special prosecutor.”
After seeing the surveillance video and the footage of the shooting, Wright stated repeatedly that John Crawford III did nothing wrong in Wal-Mart. “Nothing more, nothing less than shopping.” He said that John Crawford III was “shot on sight in a militaristic response.”
“From what I’ve seen, John had no opportunity to put the gun down,” said Wright.
The description of the events indicated that John Crawford III was shot while speaking on the phone and holding an air rifle by the butt as a cane, with the butt of the gun pointing into the ground. A 911 caller and the police have claimed that Crawford was waving the gun and pointing it at people, something which is disputed by the video footage, according the family’s attorney.
DeWine also announced that the grand jury will convene on September 22, rather than September 3 and indicated that the FBI has been helping the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation with the creation of a video timeline of the events which transpired on the evening of August 5.
Mark Piepmeierand, the special prosecutor appointed by DeWine has been involved in several police shooting incidents, some of which have resulted in police officers being indicted and convicted of crimes. Piepmeierand has been involved in some of the cases surrounding the Cincinnati riots in 2001 and the Lucasville prison riots.
DeWine said, “Mr. Piepmeierand is fair, he is impartial, he calls it like he sees it. He will have total independence in this case.”