A Beavercreek Walmart store was closed for several hours Wednesday evening during a protest to mark the first anniversary of police shooting and killing John Crawford III inside the store.
The store closed just before the demonstration started and reopened after most protesters had left.
As the demonstration started, would-be shoppers were rolling up to Walmart and finding the doors were locked. A woman who gave her name as Lucy shrugged.
“I came for a deep fryer, ‘cause it’s fifteen dollars cheaper here than the other store,” she said—and when she arrived, store employees simply told her it was temporarily closed.
Out by Pentagon Boulevard, about 250 people, including John Crawford’s mother, gathered in a large circle. Many wore black and held flowers. The group crossed the parking lot in a long line, with four men in the front carrying a foam coffin. They did a die-in in front of the locked doors—the die-in was originally intended to take place inside.
22-year-old John Crawford was talking on his cell phone in the pet food aisle when he was shot and killed here a year ago. He was holding a BB gun sold in the store when officers responded to a 911 call and shot him within seconds. The shooter says he believed the gun was real. In September a grand jury brought back no indictment in the case.
One year later, Anthony Edgecombe of Columbus says he’s frustrated.
“Not just the police, but a lot of people are scared of us...more than they would be scared of a white person or somebody else in the same situation,” said Edgecombe. “Everytime I turn on the TV and I see another brother dead, I cry.”
Walmart closed before the demonstration started, and didn’t return a request for comment.
After most of the crowd had dispersed, two white shoppers outside talking while they waited for the store to reopen. One guy said, “it’s over now, move on.” A woman responded, “can’t bring him back.”
The case remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.