This guy at the very, very least, needs to have his ass hauled into the police station for a sit down:
The family of a young black man who was killed by police in an Ohio Walmart while holding an unloaded BB rifle and speaking on his cellphone have called for action to be taken against a 911 caller who claimed he was pointing the gun at people.
John Crawford III was shot dead last month by an officer responding to an emergency call made by Ronald Ritchie, a shopper standing 100ft away, who repeatedly stated to the dispatcher that Crawford was pointing the air rifle at customers.
Surveillance footage and audio recordings released after a grand jury declined to indict the officer who shot Crawford showed that Crawford was holding the rifle at his side and pointing it to the floor at the time when Ritchie alleged that “he just pointed it at, like, two children”.
Crawford’s father and the family’s attorney said that Ritchie, 24, should be questioned by police over the discrepancy between the footage and his allegation, which he made about 80 seconds before Crawford was shot, and confirmed when asked soon after. Knowingly “making false alarms” is a crime under Ohio law punishable by a fine or jail sentence.
“He was the catalyst, if you will, in the whole sequence of events leading up to my son’s death,” John Crawford Jr told the Guardian. “It was a crank call. He excited the call, and exaggerated the call, and frankly it was just a bunch of lies.”
This guys is a class act:
The children who Ritchie appeared to claim were under threat from Crawford were in the store with their mother, Angela Williams. Williams, 37, died of a heart attack in the panic that ensued among customers following the police shooting. “I hope that he’s happy with himself,” her teenage son said of Ritchie in a Facebook post earlier this month.
Ritchie also told several reporters after the shooting that he was an “ex-marine”. The Guardian disclosed last month that he was thrown out after seven weeks in 2008, after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment”. He states that the problem was a mix-up in his paperwork.
In January 2012, Ritchie pleaded guilty in the Montgomery County municipal court to theft. All records of the incident have been expunged by the court and the Huber Heights police department. In 2010 he was fined $250 and given a year’s probation after being convicted by Miamisburg municipal court of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Ritchie and his wife, April, have not spoken publicly since his Guardian interview. Both have changed their names on social media. The day before he called 911 about Crawford, Ritchie posted a meme on his Facebook page featuring the comedian Gabriel Iglesias. “Me, racist? The only race I hate is the one you have to run,” it read. The post has since been removed.
One month later, Ritchie shared with his friends a story from the Tea Party News Network about a group of black men assaulting a white couple in Missouri. The story condemned President Barack Obama and Eric Holder, the attorney general, for ignoring the attack after speaking publicly about the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri, last month. It described them as “race hustlers”.
He also keeps changing his story. In my mind, he’s a murderer for what he did.
The man is a murderer. He just used the cops to do it. May he rot for what he did to the Crawfords and to the Williams’. Nasty, bigoted bastard.
Davis X. Machina
Paging Iñigo Montoya….
Black moms tell audience how they fear for their sons
By Aisha Sultan [email protected] 314-340-8300
Ten black mothers sat on the stage in an auditorium and looked into a mixed crowd of women in the audience. They were about to share something personal and hurtful with this room full of mostly strangers.
They were going to talk about something they didn’t normally share with their white friends or colleagues.
It was about to get real in that room.
In the aftermath of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager fatally shot by a white Ferguson police officer, conversations about race in the St. Louis area have been loaded.
Christi Griffin, the president of the Ethics Project, wanted this to be different. She wanted to invite other mothers to hear directly from black mothers the reality of raising a black son in America. She wanted them to hear the words they each had said to their own sons, in different variations over the years, but all with the same message: Stay alive. Come home alive.
He sounds like a Zimmerman wannabe.
The Rude One agrees
You know I agree with the parents. Arrest him.
Pshaw, you can’t put a white person in jail in connection with a black person getting murdered! I’m sure the prosecutor and police chief will soon give this fine upstanding young honkey a medal for his meritorious service to white people!
I had heard about this story and thought it was FUBAR. Then I saw the synced 911 call to the video and clearly almost nothing the caller says is true. Just not FUCKING true. Look I am willing to bet if I witnessed a crime in realtime I might not be able to understand what I saw. Who I saw exactly.
But this was a call where the guy is saying in real time what he was seeing. Not asked by police what he saw 1, 5, 10 hours later. This is him talking to police telling them what he was seeing as it happened. I just got glasses at 44, but I can see he isn’t doing what this shitbag is saying.
Now I don’t give the police a pass here, not even close, but that is my first point.
My second is if you put a darn BB or pellet gun on the shelf of your store that I can pick up, don’t come kill me!
I was in Wal-mart the other day and checked on purpose, because of this story, if I could find a BB gun to pick up. I had one in the late 70s. You had one (maybe you didn’t). I could not find one. Maybe they are locked away.
My last point is the cops.
They clearly walked into that store and assassinated him. There is no other way to look at it IMHO. No conversation. Nothing will ever change me from that view.
Of course a loser slob like that white punk on dope hasn’t 25¢ to his name, but he should still be sued by everyone who possibly can sue him for his bullshit until he decides to kill himself.
And he should never be allowed to have a ‘phone again.
Karma is infinitely patient. He’ll get his someday.
Ugh, what a monstrous sack of garbage. And yes, John Crawford’s and Angela Williams’ blood is on his fucking hands.
Sadly, I doubt anything will happen to him. And if it did, he’d be turned into yet another white martyr for the racist hordes.
Karen in GA
@debbie: Not even. At least Zimmerman had the balls to pull the trigger himself.
Okay, I’m not sure how I feel about what I just said.
There was an article, on Salon I believe, about how cops are trained to react to an active shooter situation. In a nut shell it is don’t wait for backup, shot first and ask questions later.
To me that sounds like an overly simplistic approach. Sure if the first officer on the scene sees that guy shooting or hears gunfire then that approach makes sense but not all situations are like that. In this case a couple of questions come to mind that the cop should have asked himself before charging in like Dirt Harry.
1`. Are there people screaming and running to get out of the store? Are there people sprawled on the floor trying to take cover? It would seem like a natural reaction by the shoppers to get away from the shooter. While the cop certainly didn’t have access to the camera footage, when he got there no one was running around in a panic.
2/ How many 911 calls were received? If someone was walking around the store shooting people I would think there would be a ton of 911 calls. That seems to have been the pattern in previous mass shooting incidents.
3. Where is store security? Certainly if someone was shooting in the store they would hear it or see it on the TV monitors and respond accordingly.
But what the heck, it’s only another n-clang.
@D58826: Yeah, I mean…I believe they’re told to shoot first, but when they choose to act on that is, shall we say, of note.
I mean. The mere fact that the dude who shot up the movie theater in Aurora wasn’t gunned into oblivion by the cops is all I need to know. If he’d been black? He’d have been dead before his last shell casing hit the floor.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
I had the distinction of learning of the no bill from an Ohio police chief, who noted that there was synced 911 call and surveillance video. He told us that it was an interesting way to see what the grand jury saw and why they made the decision they did. The lunch meeting was about non-profit business regarding the restructuring of the organization into a larger (fully staffed) agency. After that conversation, I’m not as unhappy to be on a job hunt.
What a miserable person. He made a false report — that’s illegal.
@Karen in GA:
Yeah, me neither. Balls had nothing to do with it.
@rikyrah: thanks for posting this article. Well worth a read, some thought and some action. I raised three boys and never had to worry about them being shot because they reacted with anger to injustice. I can’t imagine the courage it took for those moms to be honest on that stage. That last question is one all white parents need to be asking themselves.
I do NOT want to minimize that the cops murdered John Crawford, but I do want to keep pointing out that this asshat managed to kill two people when he made his 911 one.
Yeah, this guy should get whatever the maximum is for whatever charge they can make stick on him.
But still, the cops were the ones who pulled the trigger. This nutcase’s bogus 911 call doesn’t exonerate them. They can’t just walk in somewhere and blow someone away because some random person called 911 in a panic.
I’m OK with cops shooting first and getting backup, asking questions, etc. later in an active shooter situation, but at an absolute minimum they should have to see evidence of an active shooter situation with their own eyes. It can be bodies, people wounded, bloody trails, the sound of shots fired, a guy aiming a gun at other people, hell, even panicked people fleeing or cowering. But something, dammit. They can’t say it’s an active shooter situation just because they got a phone call saying it was.
Even this dyed in the wool non-adherent of any religion of any stripe has heard “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
Where’s the fundamentalists’ outrage against and righteous condemnation of Ritchie?
The cops have a big chunk of responsibility for Angela Williams’ death as well. If they hadn’t decided to blow a guy away a few aisles away from her, she probably wouldn’t have had a fatal heart attack.
I agree, this crapbag needs to be charged, convicted & assessed the maximum possible fine & jail time.
Ohio is, I believe, an open carry state. Even if that had been a real gun, no laws were being broken. In the stupid NRA encouraged “open carry” fests going around this year, all kinds of whiteys have been WAY more menacing in the way they carry, the fact that they have actual guns, and the places they are carrying (drunk outside a school, anyone?)
I’m from Nebraska, can’t get much whiter, and I’m so, so heartsick that our country has come to this, so openly. I have an African American nephew, and I’m scared for him every day. I’d say it will take the racist olds to die off, but plenty of new ones seem to keep coming along.
Isn’t this akin to the people who do the SWAT-ing calls? And those people are subject to prosecution, shouldn’t he be as well?
Really awful fuck of a person, but this should not disdtract from the murder of John Crawford, and the lies the police told. By many factors a much bigger crime.
I agree, & think both should be pursued. I guess it would take a civil or federal case against the cops now, right? Unless the prosecutor has a change of heart & convenes another grand jury.
Open Carry only applies to whites though. Everyone knows that.
Some places never get better. I spent seven miserable years in Stupor (Huber) Heights. Beavercreek always seemed a little too white evangelical to me. I believe it was the home district to weasely Mike Dewine.
If the authorities were to prosecute this lowlife Ritchie for making a false report about a nonexistent threat, it would go on the official record that the cops who responded to it used lethal force recklessly and without justification. That would be a sticky situation for those cops — also for their bosses, who thought they had warded off a prosecution that would have embarrassed the police and brought on Federal attention, as has happened in Ferguson.
Sounds like swatting to me. How is it his pasty white ass is not in jail?
I’m not military, but have family who is. From what I’m told, there’s no such thing as an “ex-marine.”
@rikyrah: This story ends with a challenge. It’s a challenge I’ve laid down to my (white) sisters & brothers, raising my (white) nieces & nephews.
When push comes to shove, I have to teach my child how to respond to racial profiling and police abuse in a way that gets her home alive, cynical but hopefully physically whole.
What they have to do is bigger: Teach their (white) children to be the one reed who changes the course of the river. The white cop, judge, bystander, witness who stands up to racial thinking and says, No. That’s not right. If you treated my cousin like that I would resist, and I’m going to resist.
It’s easy, relatively speaking, to raise a child interested in her own survival. (It’s hard knowing that doing everything right may not work to assure that she lives to be old.) Raising a generation of the privileged to see the water they’re swimming in? That’s a job, and it can’t wait. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Both parties need to be prosecuted, because the ONLY reason the cops came to that Wal-Mart was because this asshole called them in a panic. If he had not done that, John Crawford and Angela Williams would be alive today.
Here is this morning’s Facebook status update from a friend of mine who happens to be biracial:
I am just so horrified and upset about this. Even my mom, who is white and tends to be very deferential to authority, told me, “Fuck the cops” yesterday. This fuckwad racist douche needs to spend a lot of time examining the inside of a very small concrete room. And so do the “officers”.
A North Las Vegas 16 year old was arrested two weeks ago for a drug related murder. A school cop gave them his name based on a photo from the crime scene. Several witnesses were unable to identify the young man in police photo lineups.
Never mind the cops have video of the kid buying a slushy two miles away at the time of the crime and there ARE witnesses who place him at a foot ball game. He spent two weeks in jail but was finally released w/o any charges. The police say they will continue to investigate his role in the crime. Seems video tape is only good when it matches the cops preconceived notions of the crime
Oh by the way the kid is African American – big surprise.
That is some outrageous BS that guy pulled. Is it close enough to filing a false police report to charge him?
Well the cops should have properly assessed the situation upon arrival and their failure to do so makes them the murderers here. But this asshole is definitely an accomplice.
@Cpl Cam: (sigh), they did assess the situation – nclang with a gun. end of story
You know, one time, I was in a Target, and a dude actually opened fire. I hid, called 911, and reported the crime, and stayed on the phone until the shooter was arrested. It was really, REALLY easy to just say “I DON’T KNOW” to some of the questions the dispatcher asked. This Ritchie loser wanted to stir up trouble for his own reasons. Again, I think some time in prison will help him learn some self-control in the presence of people of other races.
dance around in your bones
But he was black! blackity black! With an Afro! What more proof could you need?!!
If he was a pasty white he’d be a patriotic hero.
Man, this country is fucked up.
The Walmart in Beavercreek is located off of I-675 – the heart of white-bread, recently developed, suburban Dayton. When I heard about it, I figured that one of the reasons why it happened was that so many people out there seem to be absolutely terrified of black people. Beavercreek, OH was 2.5% African American in the 2010 Census.
While the demographics of Ferguson, MO often comes up in the reporting, I don’t think it’s been mentioned anywhere near as much in this case (but I could be wrong).
Whites need to stop being so afraid of “the other”… :-(
Tree With Water
This murder is sadly another violent culmination of the counter-reaction to each and every civil right advancement of the 20th century America by the GOP. Things could, and should, be different.
Suffice to say, the southern people need to unstuck their collective head from its collective ass.
If the shit train began to roll when JFK had his brains shot out, it picked up irrepressible speed after November,1980.
The republican party is the party of rule or ruin. Its power base resides in the south. It is the vessel of American fascism (corporate rule of government). It won’t be de-railed by the honorable opposition crowd.
That said, it’s a undeniably a beautiful day in Sonoma county.
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I lived there in the late 80’s-early 90’s. I was a realtor in Fairborn for a short time, so I was in Beavercreek often. I can just imagine what it is like today.
@TR: Yeah, that has become all too tragically clear.
As much as people pin their hopes for the future on the “demographic shift”, Officer Wilson’s 28, Zimmerman was 28 when he murdered Trayvon Martin and now this guy turns out to be 24.
I think there are still going to be plenty of crazy-ass racists, as I get older.
@sacrablue: I went to HS in Dayton in the late ’70s and still have friends there. Lots of changes, many for the better, but some things have changed very little…
Whites, yes. COPS need to stop being so damn afraid of everything that their first response is to shoot black people dead.
dance around in your bones
@cckids: I SO agree.
But the problem is more than just cops – that’s what I was trying to get at. It’s a problem in too much of our society – those in authority not seeing the humanity of those not like themselves, and seeing deadly threats everywhere outside their tiny group. The reaction to 9/11 is another example, of course.
If the society that gives rise to the leadership changes, then scardy-cat, trigger happy cops will become less of a problem too. But we can’t wait that long. Police departments need to change, and if they won’t do it on their own, then the DOJ needs to crack down hard on them – and soon.
At least tell us there’s an investigation into Ritchie’s actions and lies.
I’m familiar with Beavercreek and am not too impressed with their police department. From what I’ve seen, most of them would be hard-put to qualify as rent-a-cops. It’s a wealthy area (even though it has a Walmart) with virtually no crime; the shooting of this poor guy is quite unusual for the area.
The fact that 2 unrelated parties contributed to the death and that it’s arguable which is more at fault, means that I think both may get off with no punishment because people will start arguing with each other about whose fault it is and be diverted from effective reaction.
The cop stupidity is more likely to cause other deaths…I think and can also be corrected by authority acting. Unless someone records the 911 caller boasting he did it on purpose I don’t know what can be done about him. He may find his job prospects diminished and maybe social shunning would send the most effective message to other potential idiots. Don’t know how likely either are there?
@Gvg: I’d say making a false 911 call to the cops is likely a crime of some type. My guess would be he’ll claim that he saw a black guy with a gun, and was frightened – and thought he saw things that weren’t really happening. Given the probable jury in that town, that story might win a “not guilty” verdict.
It is a crime, but it has to be “knowing” and it’s a misdemeanor, unless it’s in a school – then it’s a felony.
I think the family should pursue it anyway.
@Kay: How about civil damages? Somebody needs to go after this guy for what he did. I think it was pretty ‘knowing’, though maybe a DA would think the evidence is not good enough for a criminal conviction.
I don’t have any idea about civil damages. They should pursue anything they can. This whole thing is horrible and they got absolutely no relief or comfort from the justice system. It failed.
This is “knowing”:
So a step above “reckless”. I think you can see why that would be a tough mental state to prove.
I played about half of the video. Maybe there was something worse in the second half, but it seems painfully clear from the first half that the 911 caller is not being very urgent, and he says over and over that he doesn’t know what the object of his suspicion is doing with the gun. Did he have a good reason to call 911? It doesn’t seem like it. Couldn’t the police figure that out? They responded as if it was mass murder in progress. With no shots reported, no verbal threats, and only vague claims of a guy handling a firearm carelessly, and maybe it looks like he’s loading it, but the caller can’t really see.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Kay: Sadly, there are public policy reasons for not prosecuting or otherwise punishing false reports to the police. People may, in good faith, call 911 and report something. They should not be punished because they were wrong because that may cause people to hesitate to report situations about which they have some doubt and real crimes will go unreported.
@Jerry O’Brien: A person wandering or standing about the store with a gun or what appears to be a gun is an excellent reason to call 911. Open carry enthusiasts be damned, that shit is threatening, and the average citizen is not trained to distinguish between good guys with guns, bad guys with guns and someone buying an air rifle.
It is not, however, a good reason to start making shit up about what that person is doing. Some of what the caller reports makes sense, if you’re scared and jumping to conclusions (fidgeting with the air rifle might look like loading it), but he was never pointing it at children or directly threatening anyone.
And the police should be trained to distinguish between an immediate threat and not, rather than just opening fire.
I live ten minutes from the Walmart. It’s in the suburbs of Dayton, and yes, about 88% white. Over the past several years the Dayton RTA has attempted to run bus lines into the area so people from other areas could have access to the shopping mall area. It’s immediately next to Wright State University, so having a bus line would make sense.
Naturally, the Beavercreek residents have repeatedly blocked the efforts because they don’t want to bring a “criminal element” into their community. Ot was only a matter of time until something like this happened, where the white suburban cops would freak out at the sight of someone shopping while black.
I’m so heartbroken over Crawford’s murder. Ritchie should go to prison.
@Tom Traubert: You’re correct. Anyone referring to themselves as an “ex-marine” is telling you in that statement that they are not to be trusted.
Rodney King was beaten and the cops were acquitted at the state level. It sparked the riots that led to the federal indictment. Two of the cops were found guilty and two were acquitted at the federal level. The locals may be in for a long hard coverup if the DOJ steps in and decides to take it to a federal grand jury. And I believe that the local prosecutor can still charge them even after the grand jury didn’t.
@Gustopher: On second thought, I agree, he had enough reason to call 911. My contention is that he didn’t claim that violence was occurring or about to occur. The operator kept asking what the guy with the gun was doing, and the caller said a few things that weren’t accurate, but he also said repeatedly that he didn’t know and couldn’t get a close look.
its called misdemeanor manslaughter. Its different the the felony murder rule. Its simple- if someone comits a felony and someone dies as a result then they are guilty of murder. in the misdemeanor manslaughter rule, if you commit a misdemeanor such as say filing a false police report, and someone dies as a result its manslaughter.
Beavercreek is a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, an hour north of where I live in Cincinnati.
It was a local story, and the Cincinnati news media went into full-on freak-out Crazy Shooter In Wal-Mart almost as it happened. The 911 caller vs. the video is all the more staggering given the prejudicial treatment the story was given locally, as events unfolded.
What did the grand jury see that I’m not seeing? The 911 caller caused a panic, but how is law enforcement completely off the hook here?
Jack the Second
While we’re assigning blame, can we get a little for Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, and every other politician who has spent the last forty years whistling to improve his electoral odds? Solving the whole “race relations” thing may be tricky, but maybe we would have made a lot more progress over the last couple of generations if there weren’t powerful people constantly trying to drive a wedge for personal gain.
It’s a helluva lot harder to put out a fire when people are still throwing gas on it.
With more and more people legally carrying rifles and assault rifles around with them, given how incompetent the police are, we may be looking at a bloodbath.
I’d bet almost anything that the police officer — primed by the phone call — went into that store scared to death and overloaded with adrenaline. In other words, in perfect condition to make calm, rational decisions.
It is. In Ohio, it’s a misdemeanor if no economic harm is caused and a felony if at least $500 of economic harm is caused. I would hope that two lives are worth at least that much.
it’s gonna be hard to convict on a false 911 when the cops were completely exonerated from their actions. Not saying the cops or the caller was right, just that any lawyer with an ounce of sense is gonna make that point. Of course really the issue is why even call 911? Why wasn’t his first communication with the store manager or store security? Zimmerman wanna be is pretty spot on.
and personally I think, every community needs some public education on the difference between an emergency call and a nuisance call. There are a lot of situations in my neighborhood that require a nuisance call to the police station. unless I see actual criminal (violent) activity, I don’t bother the 911 dispatcher.
Paul in KY
@sacrablue: We lived briefly in Fairborn back in 1965. Dad was stationed at Wright Patt.
Paul in KY
@Jerry O’Brien: You get promoted for responding to 911 calls. You don’t get promoted for doing very mundane actions (police thinking).
FFS, I’ve worked with some of THESE assholes before. No better predictor of a wound-too-tight, wanna-be-a-hero mentality than the “ex-Marine” (really “never-Marine”) who was bounced out…
Protest planned today at noon in Cincinnati at Hamilton County Courthouse because of the role Ham Co prosecutor played:
Fundamentalists don’t have blacks as neighbors.
pseudonymous in nc
If you carve out small policing units for white flight suburbs, you get a bunch of mall cops with the authority to use deadly force. There’s a theme here, which is that while there are certain advantages to ultra-local policing in terms of understanding community dynamics, it can also escalate situations that are perceived as Outside Threats. Policing can be better than that, but it needs governmental structures that allow it to be better.
@Jerry O’Brien: At one point a woman pushing a cart accompanied by two small children comes up the aisle maybe 15 feet away from the man. She is casual, shopping and the man is paying no attention to the family group. The caller volunteers to the 911 operator that the man is pointing the gun at the two children.
At that moment it is clear he is not making any mistake. It is impossible to misinterpret what is happening (or rather not happening) at that moment in that store. The caller is obviously playing a malicious prank. That is the most generous interpretation I can make.
As to the idea that the caller was panicked? The guy sounded calm, even casual. He could have been ordering a pizza.
No doubt making false statements in a 911 call must be a crime but what this guy did was clearly reckless endangerment. The consequences of his prank couldn’t have been worse. His only defense could be mental impairment of some variety. Then again he looks dumb enough so a good lawyer might make that float.