Breaking: Students Occupy Police Station Over Crawford Murder

Above photo: Surveillance footage shows Sean Williams as he entered the Walmart, just before fatally shooting John Crawford. Photograph: Screengrab of CCTV footage From the Guardian.

Group has range of demands after innocent man slain — and will stay at station until police chief meets with them.

John Crawford III

John Crawford III

A group of young people affiliated with the Ohio Students Association and the economic and racial justice network Freedom Side are now occupying the police station in Beavercreek, Ohio, demanding that police chief Dennis Evers meet with them in the wake of the killing of John Crawford III by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams. A grand jury failed to indict Williams for the shooting on September 24, and the students, who have been organizing around Crawford’s death since August, have moved to escalate.

After the news came down that Williams would not be indicted, organizer Malaya Davis tells Salon, the group sat down to consider next steps and came up with three demands. They want Williams removed from the force, they want to overhaul the police training materials that they blame for Williams and Sgt. David Darkow’s aggressive response to Crawford, and, Davis says, “we want to really start a conversation around how we fundamentally shift the power dynamics and relationship between law enforcement and community. Law enforcement ranging from police officers to sheriff to county prosecutor.”

“An occupation is the way that we’re going to try to force these demands to at least be heard and be taken into consideration,” Davis continues.

The organizers held a rally on Friday and spent the weekend meeting in the community, and returned at 8 AM this morning. About ten of them plan on remaining at the station until the chief meets with them—they are demanding a meeting by Wednesday.

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Organizer Darsheel Kaur, who grew up in Beavercreek, says that the group has worked hard to make sure their actions make sense in the moment and have a direct purpose. She does note, though, that sometimes it takes outside attention and pressure to make officials act. “As a community organizer it’s hard for me, I want to do something with community support but at the same time I think we have to broaden the sense of community in this point,” she says.

At the same time, she is impressed with the amount of support they have gotten. “We’ve been calling ourselves the Concerned Citizens because there’s people from all around, different ages, cultures, backgrounds, races. A lot of people have been supporting us. I think people are ready to start working together in a new way. I think it’s a very hopeful situation in terms of community transformation.”

Adds Davis, “People were looking to our leadership to really make sure that justice is being served–and what the community deems is justice, not what the justice system has deemed as justice.”

UPDATE FOR OCT. 7:

Students spent the night in the Beavercreek Police Station waiting for a meeting with the Police Chief. Here they start the day with yoga:

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OHStudentAssociation ‏@OHIOStudents 2h1 hour ago Good morning! We’re starting our day off with Morning yoga in the police station. #yoga #feedthespirit #protectustoo

Follow them on twitter at @OHIOstudents and #JohnCrawford.

Students have now occupied the Beavercreek Police Dept for more than 24 hours. They are asking for your support with actions below.

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Solidarity Actions

As members of the Ohio Student Association occupy space inside the Beavercreek Police Department, we are calling on our allies and supporters from around the state and nation to take action with us. Thank you all for your support and love!

Call the Beavercreek Police Station to Support Justice for John Crawford. 

Call 937-426-1225. Ask to speak with Police Chief Dennis Evers.. If they put you through and you get his voice mail, leave a message. If they won’t put you through, just speak to whoever picks up.

“I am calling to support the demands of the people occupying the police station.

  1. I’d like to file a Citizen Complaint Report against Sean Williams.  On August 5, Sean Williams killed John Crawford III. This is the second person Williams has killed in the line of duty–he is responsible for 2 of 2 police-involved deaths in the department’s history. I am joining others in demanding that you fire Officer Williams, or at the very least disarm him. He should not have a gun. It is equally essential that the police training and protocol on the use of force are overhauled so that there are no more John Crawfords.
  2. I’d also like to file a complaint against Ronald Ritchie.  Ritchie provided misleading information about John Crawford III on August 5, and that misleading information led to the death of Crawford and a woman who had a heart attack and died as a result of the commotion from the police shooting.  I am concerned that Ritchie’s caricature of John was based in anti-black racism, and the police department must not tolerate inaccurate and misleading 911 calls that put the community in jeopardy.

I am following this issue and look forward to seeing what action the Beavercreek police take in this important matter.

Email admin@beavercreekohio.gov. Here’s a suggested email:

Dear Police Chief Evers:

I am writing to support the demands of the people occupying the police station.

I’d like to file a Citizen Complaint Report against Sean Williams.  On August 5, Sean Williams killed John Crawford III. This is the second person Williams has killed in the line of duty–he is responsible for 2 of 2 police-involved deaths in the department’s history. I am joining others in demanding that you fire Officer Williams, or at the very least disarm him. He should not have a gun. It is equally essential that the police training and protocol on the use of force are overhauled so that there are no more John Crawfords.

I’d also like to file a complaint against Ronald Ritchie.  Ritchie provided misleading information about John Crawford III on August 5, and that misleading information led to the death of Crawford and a woman who had a heart attack and died as a result of the commotion from the police shooting.  I am concerned that Ritchie’s caricature of John was based in anti-black racism, and the police department must not tolerate inaccurate and misleading 911 calls that put the community in jeopardy.

I am following this issue and look forward to seeing what action the Beavercreek police take in this important matter.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

YOUR CITY AND STATE

UPDATE FOR OCTOBER 8:

Students were visited by John Crawford’s mother and older cousin.

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Students spend second night in the Beavercreek Police Station.

1ohio3Police greet students early in the morning with lights and sirens.

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Today is the day students will meet with the chief of police. You can help by sharing the image below and by calling the Police Station to show your support for their demands.

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