Transient

"The father of a man fatally shot by police at an Ohio Wal-Mart says a phone call in which he heard his son's dying breaths keeps replaying in his head.

John Crawford III, was shot August 5, in a Wal-Mart. A 911 caller told police that Crawford III was waving a weapon that turned out to be an air rifle.

Officers have said Crawford III was shot when he didn't respond to orders to put the gun down.

His father, John Crawford Jr, talked about the last day of son's life to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Crawford family and their attorney have said that a section of store surveillance video they saw shows Crawford III holding the air rifle and talking on his mobile phone.

The family has requested public release of the store video. But Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has refused to release it while the investigation is continuing."

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"A man walks through Wal-Mart, holding something to his ear as he passes a gun case.

He leans toward a shelf and steps back into view, now holding a long, dark object — a gun? — as he walks past customers, who show no obvious reaction.

Eight minutes later, surveillance video from a different angle shows him farther away.

Suddenly he drops the object and crumples to the floor. Two more people come into view, walking toward him with firearms drawn.

Was it a justified fatal shooting by police or an unreasonable use of force? Does the soundless video offer enough information to answer that question?

In the Wal-Mart case and others, cameras meant to help catch bad guys or document police actions are drawing attention for capturing officers using force.

The public circulation of those images increases transparency, but it also adds the risk of viewers rushing to judgment based on only part of the story.

"You might see a video and think that because you're seeing an actual sort of account of what happened, you know the whole story.

And it's very rare that a video is actually going to be able to tell the whole story," said Ric Simmons, an Ohio State University professor of criminal law.

At that Wal-Mart in Beavercreek, outside Dayton, 22-year-old John Crawford III was talking on a cellphone and picked up an air rifle on August 5.

A 911 caller reported seeing someone waving a gun and pointing it at people. Police said Crawford was shot when he didn't respond to officers' orders to drop the weapon, something the video can't prove because there's no audio.

Crawford's relatives and their attorneys say he was "shot on sight" with no chance to respond and that the video proves the shooting was unreasonable.

A grand jury concluded it was justified. A federal investigation is pending.

Sometimes a video instantly offers incriminating evidence. In South Carolina this month, a state trooper was fired and charged with assault after his dashboard video, with audio, showed an unarmed driver being shot in the hip."

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