Man Who Called-In False Report On John Crawford Might Be Charged
Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root has ruled that there is probable cause to charge Ronald T. Ritchie with making false alarms. Judge Root ruled that there was not probable cause to issue a criminal complaint against Ritchie for inciting to violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide. She has referred the case for making false alarms to a prosecutor.
On August 5, 2014, Ronald T. Ritchie called 911 reporting that a Black man was in the Beavercreek, Ohio’s Walmart pointing a gun at shoppers and children. Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams arrived and shot John twice, killing him. John had picked up an air rifle from the shelf in the store. The store’s surveillance video shows that John was not behaving as Ritchie reported.
John Crawford III was 22-years old. At the time he was killed by Officer Williams, a shopper, 37-year old Angela Williams, had a heart attack while rushing out of the store. She died.
The Dayton Daily News reports that 10 private citizens filed affidavits in Fairborn Municipal Court and turned in Walmart surveillance video synchronized to the 911 call by the FBI on March 25. Judge Root watched the synchronized video and ruled that at the time that Ritchie told 911 that John was pointing a gun at two children, that the video does not depict that event.
Officer Williams was cleared by a Greene County special grand jury, which declined to indict him. Williams remains on administrative duty pending a U.S. Dept. of Justice civil rights investigation.
Some sources, in reporting Judge Root’s decision, are incorrectly saying that Ritchie was indicted. The affidavits that Judge Root considered were filed under Ohio Revised Code 2935.09, which is the same law that citizens used and was granted probable cause findings in the killing of Tamir Rice. However, although Cleveland Municipal Judge Ronald B. Adrine found probable cause to charge Timothy Loehman with murder and other counts, Cuyahoga Prosecutor Timothy McGinty went before a grand jury and did not obtain an indictment against Loehman.
The charge of making a false alarm is a first-degree misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum of 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. At this time, I do not personally know if Ohio law requires that misdemeanor charges go before a grand jury to indict. If not, then the prosecutor can order Ritchie’s arrest.
John Crawford III’s family has filed a lawsuit against Officer Sean Williams who killed John, and Sgt David Darkow who was standing nearby. The suit is filed in the U.S. District Court in Dayton, and contains 17 counts ranging from assault and battery, to negligent training and supervision against Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers and the City of Beavercreek. It also alleges negligence against WalMart. John’s family has asked for compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.
Currently in the civil case, The Xenia Gazette reports that lawyers for Darkow and Williams have requested that a stay of discovery that expired March 30, 2015, be extended. Their reason is because of the federal investigation. In another civil case involving the suspicious death of Kendrick Johnson, the Department of Justice requested a state court in Georgia to stay the case for 180 days pending federal investigation, and the judge denied the DOJ’s request. The plaintiffs in that civil case, Kendrick’s parents, have voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice. Strategically, it was the only alternative to allow the DOJ to continue and complete their investigation since some of the witnesses are involved in both the civil case and criminal investigation. Kendrick’s parents can refile the case in 6 months.
By comparison, in the civil case filed with the federal court in Ohio, Darkow and Williams believe that continuing discovery in the civil case might conflict with their rights related to the ongoing federal investigation into the incident. On the other hand, the defendants in the civil case alleging the wrongful death of Kendrick Johnson did not want the court to stay the case for 180 days until the DOJ completes its investigation.
The below is the synchronized video with 911 call.
Beavercreek Police have a Youtube channel in case you’re interested in watching more videos involving this case, including Ritchie’s interview with police officers, and the interview with John’s girlfriend, who in January 2015, died in a car accident.
Posted on 04/07/2016, in Cases, John Crawford III and tagged John Campbell III, Kendrick Johnson, lawsuits, Ohio, probably cause, Ronald T. Ritchie, Sean Williams, stay, Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehman, Timothy McGinty. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.