On Wednesday, August 5th, activists in Ohio marked the one year anniversary of the shooting of John Crawford III. The 22-year old was shot by a Beavercreek police officer after being seen holding a BB gun inside the Wal-Mart near Dayton, Ohio. A grand jury would later find that the officer innocent of murder. Federal authorities are still reviewing the case.
The activists came from a range of groups including Greene County Black Lives Matter, Anonymous #OpJohnCrawford, Beavercreek CopBlock and Ohio Open Carry. The Greene County BLM had planned a protest and “die-in” outside the Wal-Mart where Crawford was shot. The group carried a black coffin through the parking lot to the front door of the Wal-Mart. The planned protests prompted the store managers to close down for the evening.
Ohio Open Carry stated that their demonstration was part of an effort to “remind the nation that open carry is legal and that police are not above our most basic human rights.”
However, not all of the activists involved appreciated the open carry groups’ message. According to Counter Current News:
“Many of the participants in Greene County Black Lives Matter did not like the idea of having firearms at a protest, and some controversy arose when they delineated “rules of conduct” that included “no firearms.”
The other activist groups noted that they had long planned their protests and had been a regular presence at the location, with the continued blessing of John’s mother Tressa.
Just two days before the protest, at the request of a handful of activists and John’s mother, representatives from local Anonymous groups, Beavercreek CopBlock, Black Lives Matter and Ohio Open Carry sat down and hashed things out like grown ups.”
The protest went on without major conflict between the activist groups, and with no arrests reported.
Following the protest at Wal-Mart, John Crawford III’s parents gathered with the activists and spoke to a large crowd about the importance of taking action against violent police officers.
At one point John Crawford Sr. told the crowd, “How many people right now are bearing arms? If everyone out here would have held their hand up we wouldn’t have to worry about any problems.”
John Crawford Sr. went on to tell the crowd that, “You can’t reason with a bully. You have to eventually fight that bully. You have to let him know that win, lose or draw, I’m gonna fight you every day.”
The elder Crawford reminded the crowd that their numbers were greater than the police, stating, “You have a right to defend yourself. You have a right defend your family. You have that right – a Godly right and a Constitutional right.”
Despite the powerful words, John Crawford Sr. expressed that he was not promoting the use of violence against police, but rather the of self-defense.
“I’m not advocating death. I’m simply saying, inevitably it may go down that way. If it continues to go like its going now it will go down that way cause you can only push people for so long before they’re going to strike back!”