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article imageVideo shows cop threatening girlfriend of man killed at Walmart

By Megan Hamilton     Dec 17, 2014 in Crime
Dayton - After killing a young black man who'd been holding a BB gun in an Ohio Walmart, a police detective aggressively questioned his weeping girlfriend and accused her of lying, threatened her with jail time and accused her of being on drugs.
Through 90 minutes of non-stop questioning and rebuking by detective Rodney Curd, Tasha Thomas, the girlfriend of John Crawford III was reduced to tears and swearing on the grave of her dead brother that Crawford hadn't been carrying a firearm when they went to the Walmart near Dayton, Ohio to purchase crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars on August 5, The Guardian reports.
"You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail," Curd told Thomas, who kept offering to take a lie detector test. He waited until after the hour-and-a-half of questioning to tell Thomas that Crawford was dead.
"As a result of his actions, he is gone," he told Thomas while she slumped over, crying.
In the incident, police had responded to the store after a customer called 911, claiming that Crawford, 22, was pointing a gun at customers. Surveillance footage shows the young man picking up the BB rifle from a shelf, speaking to his ex-girlfriend on the cellphone while wandering the aisles and occasionally swinging the gun at his side, per The Guardian.
The 94-minute police video was released to the Guardian by the Ohio attorney general as a response to a request for public records. The video shows Curd interviewing Thomas after she was driven to the police department from Walmart. Sometime later Curd told investigators he hadn't been informed that Crawford was only holding a BB gun that was on sale at the store.
Straightaway Curd asked the young woman if she and Crawford had criminal records. Weeping and breathless, Thomas explained that she had some traffic offenses and, as a juvenile, had been arrested for petty theft.
Throughout the interview, Curd became considerably loud and aggressive, banging on the table with his hand.
"Tell me where he got the gun from," he said. Crawford had only carried a white plastic bag when they arrived at the store in order to buy the ingredients to make s'mores at a family barbecue, she told the detective.
She was asked several times if Crawford owned a gun, but at one point Thomas said "Not that I know."
"Don't tell me 'not that you know,' because that's the first thing I realize somebody's not telling me the truth," he said, telling her throughout the interview that "You need to tell me the truth" and "You need to be truthful," the Guardian reports.
At the time when he was shot by officer Sean Williams, Crawford was talking on his cellphone to LeeCee Johnson, who is the mother of his two sons. Curd kept suggesting to Thomas that Johnson was in the store, and that Crawford planned to attack her there. Johnson was at home in Cincinnati, listening on the phone when the young man died.
Throughout the arduous interview Thomas swore to God, on the lives of her three children, on the grave of her brother, and "one everything that I have" that she was telling the truth, but Curd just pressed on.
"Have you been drinking? Drugs? Your eyes are kind of messed-up looking."
A grand jury has decided not to indict Williams, but the case is being investigated by the Justice Department, CNN reports. Now, protesters across the country are chanting his name, along with Michael Brown and Eric Garner. They are protesting the systemic racism that fuels police violence, some have said.
The young man's family has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Walmart and the Beaver Creek Police Department, claiming that they are responsible for Crawford's wrongful death, and the Justice Department is also investigating the case, CNN notes.
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