The 24-year-old who called 911 to report a man pointing a rifle inside of an Ohio Walmart is now retracting his original account, telling The Guardian that John Crawford III didn’t point the gun at all.
That 911 call got Crawford, a 22-year-old black man, killed in August. Police shot Crawford to death in the Walmart while he was holding the toy rifle.
Ronald Ritchie originally told police the gun was real and was being pointed directly at customers in the store.
“He’s, like, pointing it at people,” Ritchie told the dispatcher. “He was pointing at people. Children walking by.”
He told The Guardian this month that account was false.
“At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old said, in an interview with the Guardian. He maintained that Crawford was “waving it around,” which attorneys for Crawford’s family deny.
But Ritchie’s history makes believing either account difficult.
Ritchie told several reporters after the 5 August shooting that he was an “ex-marine.” When confronted with his seven-week service record, however, he confirmed that he had been quickly thrown out of the US marine corps in 2008 after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment,” over what he maintains was simply a mixup over his paperwork.
Either way, the mishandling of Crawford’s death is being examined by family lawyers. Attorney Michael Wright pleaded with Mike DeWine, Ohio’s attorney general, to release Walmart’s surveillance footage — footage Wright says rivals Ritchie’s original version.
But Ritchie’s claim that he too watched the video isn’t sitting well with the family.
Ritchie says he was allowed to view the sealed security video, recently shown to Crawford’s family and their attorneys, that reportedly shows Crawford never lifted the BB gun and was on the phone and standing still when officers shot and killed him.
Wright and the family are lodging a complaint with DeWine following Ritchie’s admission.
“That is very improper,” said attorney Michael Wright, who said that Ritchie’s statement on what happened should have been based only on what he remembered seeing.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
SOURCE: The Guardian | PHOTO CREDIT: Handout