It seems that we hear about an innocent person being shot by police so often that it doesn’t register much anymore. The summer of 2014 might have numbed us a bit. That was when John Crawford was shot in an Ohio Wal-Mart after someone called 911 about him. The caller, Ronald Ritchie, stated that Crawford was “waving around” a gun, pointing it at people (including children).
Ritchie: “… there is a man walking around in the store with a gun waving and pointing at people.”
Dispatcher: “What does he look like?”
Ritchie: “Black male about 6 feet tall…
The officers who responded were expecting a “black male about 6 feet tall,” armed and actively threatening shoppers. What they found was John Crawford, who was carrying a BB gun he had taken off the shelf and browsing the aisles. According to Officer Sean Williams, Crawford refused to put the gun down. He told a grand jury:
He didn’t drop the rifle after (Sgt. David) Darkow repeatedly told him to drop it. As I began to say it he had the rifle within his body and made an aggressive stand. At that point, I felt with him refusing commands and with a crowded store, I felt at that point my life was in danger, Sgt. Darkow’s life was in danger and kids’ and families’ lives were in danger.
The grand jury, ultimately, decided that the two officers’ response was not grounds for an indictment. Even though the surveillance tape disproved William’s claims. Boy, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Attention was then turned to the 911 caller, Ronald Ritchie. He was charged with inducing violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter, and reckless homicide initially, but these were all dismissed as not having enough evidence to convict. Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root did find on April 6th, however, that there was enough to charge Ritchie with lying to the 911 dispatcher and, by extension, lying to police.
This decision was based on the affidavits of nine people who were present in the store at the time of the shooting. While the statements couldn’t support the other charges, they did prove that Ritchie could, at least, be indicted for his lies. Those lies got one young man shot. It also indirectly killed a shopper who was present at the time; she ran out of the store in a panic and, consequently, suffered a fatal heart attack.
Ronald Ritchie’s lies killed two people. As the video of his interview with police shows, he didn’t give a damn about the young black man who died. He lied in the 911 call and he lied to an officer’s face in his interview. At one point, he laughed about the shots that killed Crawford. From the transcript:
Ritchie reveals that he knows the suspect’s elbow has been blown out and that his liver was shot because he was eavesdropping on the investigation. He laughs.
A few minutes later, Ritchie told police to “ignore the chuckle” after he made the statement above. Guess he thought he might be seen as flippant. Well, yes. Reading the entire statement shows a blatant disrespect for the truth and for the life of a young, black man.
Ritchie won’t get what he deserves — the indictment is only for a class 1 misdemeanor — but this indictment is a win for justice. Bald-faced lying loses here, but not nearly enough.
Here’s the report from WDTN:
Watch the video of the police interview here:
Featured Image via Screen Capture