A video showing police in Ohio aggressively questioning the 26-year-old girlfriend of a young black man they killed for holding a toy gun in early August has emerged, featuring officers reducing her to tears and threatening to throw her behind bars.
Tasha Thomas was questioned for 94-minutes following the shooting of John Crawford III, the 22-year-old shot and killed by police in an Ohio-area Walmart for picking up a toy rifle that was sold in the store. Police berated Thomas, accused her of lying and suggested that she was high on drugs before telling her that Crawford was dead because of “his” actions.
Ohio is an open carry state.
“You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail,” detective Rodney Curd told Thomas, as she wept and repeatedly offered to take a lie-detector test. After more than an hour and a half of questioning and statement-taking, Curd finally told Thomas that Crawford, 22, had died.
“As a result of his actions, he is gone,” said the detective, as she slumped in her chair and cried.
Crawford, who was unarmed, was shot by police officer Sean Williams after a customer called 911 claiming Crawford was pointing the fake rifle at those in the store. He later retracted his statement. A surveillance video showed Crawford picking up the fake gun from a shelf and walking down the aisle with it while on the phone with the mother of his children. A short while later, police arrived on the scene, shooting Crawford immediately.
Thomas was taken from the Walmart to the Beavercreek police department to be questioned. According to the Guardian, Curd was unaware that Crawford’s gun was a fake before the intense and often disturbing interview took place.
Curd promptly asked Thomas whether she and Crawford had criminal records. Already tearful and breathless, Thomas explained that she may have had some traffic offenses and had been arrested for petty theft as a juvenile.
The detective then became increasingly aggressive and banged on the table between them with his hand. “Tell me where he got the gun from,” Curd repeated. Thomas insisted Crawford had been carrying only a white plastic grocery bag when they arrived at Walmart to buy the ingredients to make s’mores at a family cook-out.
Asked one of several times whether Crawford owned a gun, Thomas said: “Not that I know.”
Curd told her: “Don’t tell me ‘not that you know’, because that’s the first thing I realise somebody’s not telling me the truth”.
He later repeated: “You need to tell me the truth” and “You need to be truthful.”
Crawford was talking on his cellphone to LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his two sons, when he was shot by Williams. Curd repeatedly suggested to Thomas that Johnson, who was in fact at home in Cincinnati, may also have been in the Walmart store and that Crawford was there to attack her.
“Did he ever mention ‘I’m going to shoot that bitch’ or something like that?” the detective asked Thomas, who insisted that Crawford had not. Johnson, whom Thomas had never met, was miles away and listened over the phone while Crawford died.
Curd’s aggressive interview didn’t go unnoticed. When questioned about the video by two special agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Curd said “he believed the deceased had brought a weapon into the Wal-Mart and geared the interview with that assumption.” He also said he didn’t believe Thomas didn’t see a gun, which led him to become “aggressive with her during the interview.”
In September, a grand jury elected not to indict the officers involved in Crawford’s killing. It is unclear if Curd faced any disciplinary action for the questioning of Thomas.
SOURCE: The Guardian | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube