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1 of 2 officers involved in Walmart shooting back on job

One of two Beavercreek police officers involved in the Aug. 5 fatal shooting of John Crawford III has returned to work, the city’s law director said.

Beavercreek City Attorney Stephen McHugh said Wednesday that Beavercreek police Sgt. David Darkow is back on the job, while Officer Sean Williams is still on administrative leave.

Neither McHugh nor the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that Williams fired the shot that killed Crawford, 22, of Fairfield, in Beavercreek’s Walmart. Police said Crawford, who witnesses said was on his cell phone, twice ignored their commands to put down an airsoft rifle. The item was found to be an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle made by Crosman that Crawford removed from a shelf inside Walmart.

After showing a short portion of Walmart’s surveillance video to Crawford’s parents on Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that a Greene County special grand jury will convene Sept. 3 to determine whether or not criminal charges are appropriate in the shooting death.

“We spoke about what transpired on the video tape,” said John Crawford Jr. said about his meeting with DeWine during a interview Wednesday on MSNBC. “And he gave me some assurance that he would prosecute; that we would bring these gentlemen to justice.”

Crawford Jr. and his attorney, Michael Wright, agreed not to speak about the details of what they saw on the surveillance video, but Wright said Crawford III was “not menacing” and “not a threat” when he was shot.

Police responded to Walmart because one person called 911 and said a man with a gun was waving it at people, including children.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Crawford died of a gunshot wound to the torso and ruled the death a homicide. The office said it will take several weeks to complete a full autopsy.

Beavercreek police Chief Dennis Evers contacted DeWine within hours of the incident to ask to have the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate. The state investigation could take months to complete and will include a review of eyewitness accounts, surveillance videos, audio recordings and toxicology results.

A day after the shooting, Evers credited his officers’ actions.

“The quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk of customers,” the police chief said. “…Preliminary indications are that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances.”

Darkow has been with Beavercreek police since 1997, while Williams, a 2002 Beavercreek High School graduate, started in 2005.

In 2010, Williams was the shooter in Beavercreek’s only other police-involved shooting. A Greene County Common Pleas Court grand jury determined that Williams should face no criminal charges related to his actions when he shot and killed retired Air Force Master Sgt. Scott A. Brogli after police responded to multiple 911 calls about a domestic dispute.

Beavercreek police said Brogli ignored two officers’ commands and then charged at them with an 8- to 10-inch kitchen knife at the Primrose Place apartment on June 27, 2010. Williams fired one shot into Brogli’s chest. Brogli was pronounced dead soon after at Miami Valley Hospital.

A nine-member grand jury determined Aug. 30, 2010, that Williams acted correctly.

“They voted unanimously not to return an indictment,” Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller said at the time. “After reviewing the facts and the evidence, I think that that verdict is consistent with the fact that Officer Williams acted in self-defense after he and another officer were attacked by Mr. Brogli.”

Haller said Wednesday that the special grand jury will be called on Sept. 3, the same time a new regular grand jury will be assembled for its normal 60-day term. Haller said 60 notices are usually sent out in an effort to find at least nine, but preferably 12 to 15 prospective grand jurors.

“Between the judge and prosecutor that’s in charge of the grand jury, they will select, No. 1, people that are available, and of course, No. 2, people that can be fair and objective,” Haller said. ‘Those are things that you look for in a grand juror.”

Haller said it had not been determined if the special grand jury will meet for several days in a row, or several Wednesdays in a row as usual grand juries do. Haller said DeWine’s office had not yet named the special prosecutors assigned to the case.

McHugh said the latest Beavercreek police and policy manual was last updated May 9, 2014, including the section on use of force.

The manual states officers need to file a “Response to Resistance Report” submitted up the chain of command “as soon as possible’.” The policy calls for an administrative review forwarded to the Chief of Police, who will empanel a shooting review board to review the incident.

“The response to resistance report has not been completed pending completion of the investigation,” McHugh said. “All internal reviews are pending the BCI’s investigation and review by the Ohio Attorney General. This includes the shooting review board review.”

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