BEAVERCREEK — Demonstrators gathered outside the Beavercreek Walmart Monday as protests grow in response to George Floyd’s death.
Some also protested the killing of John Crawford III, who was shot and killed inside the Walmart in August 2014.
Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds shortly after 4:30 p.m. when protesters were blocking the road in the area of North Fairfield Road and Pentagon Boulevard near The Mall at Fairfield Commons. Protesters moved to the sidewalk for a while but moved back into the street around 5 p.m. and police deployed tear gas again, according to WDTN.
The tone shifted when a Beavercreek officer approached the crowd and took a knee, an act that was met with cheers from protesters who shortly beforehand could be heard chanting, “I don’t see a riot here, why are you wearing riot gear?” Officers communicated to the demonstrators that they did not want to have to wear their gas masks and asked participants to stay off the street, while making it clear the group could protest for as long as they wished, WDTN reported.
A short time later, a handful of Beavercreek officers stood in the street and removed their riot gear, setting aside their helmets, gas masks, and shields. A protester emerged from the crowd and took a knee in the street. After a few moments, more officers take a knee in solidarity.
Crawford was seen holding a BB gun inside the store and someone called 911, mistaking it for a real firearm, police officers said in 2014.
The officer involved was not charged. A few weeks ago, the attorney for Crawford’s family announced that the City of Beavercreek reached a $1.7 million settlement with the family, which has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart.
Our partners at WDTN contributed to this story.