An Ohio police officer who fatally shot a black Walmart shopper holding an air rifle did not violate federal civil rights laws, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Beavercreek Police Officer Sean Williams, already cleared in a criminal investigation of the August 2014 shooting death of John Crawford III, will not be charged with any federal offenses, officials said in announcing the conclusion of their investigation.
“This investigation revealed that the evidence is insufficient to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Officer Williams violated federal civil rights laws,” the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District Ohio said in a statement. The offices “will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against Officer Williams.”
Crawford’s family has been notified of the decision, the statement said.
Crawford, 22, picked up a pellet gun while shopping in the Walmart toy section, prompting a 911 call from a customer who wrongly reported he was loading a rifle and pointing it at children.
Store surveillance video showed Crawford casually walking around the store with the toy gun in one hand while talking on his cell phone. A short time later, Crawford is seen being fatally shot by Williams.
A grand jury declined to indict Williams or a second officer involved in the shooting on criminal charges.