Announcement comes after Ohio grand jury declines to indict the two police officers involved in killing of John Crawford III
© Associated Press
This undated photo provided by the family of John Crawford III shows Crawford, right, with his mother, Tressa Sherrod.
The US government is to review the fatal police shooting of a man carrying a BB rifle in a Walmart store
in Ohio, after a grand jury in the state declined to indict the officers involved.
The Justice Department's civil rights division and the FBI will carry out a "thorough and independent review of the evidence" relating to the death of John Crawford III in Beavercreek last month, it was announced on Wednesday.
Carter Stewart, the US attorney for the southern district of Ohio, said in a statement that authorities would "take appropriate action if the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes".
The announcement came soon after a request from Ohio's governor, John Kasich, and attorney general, Mike DeWine, for the federal authorities to review the case. An attorney for Crawford's family described the decision not to bring charges in the case as "absolutely incomprehensible".
A special grand jury in Greene County announced on Wednesday that it would not indict the officers involved in shooting Crawford in the Walmart in the suburb of Dayton, on the evening of August 5.
"Now that the state criminal investigation has finished, it is an appropriate time for the United States Department of Justice to look into whether any federal laws were violated during this shooting," DeWine said in a statement.
The grand jury considered charges of murder, reckless homicide and negligent homicide, according to special prosecutor Mark Piepmeier. It heard from 18 witnesses and watched surveillance footage of the incident recorded inside the store.
Kasich, the Ohio governor, said in his own statement after the decision: "After talking with the attorney general and watching the video myself, I agree with his decision that a review by the US department of justice is appropriate."
Michael Wright, the attorney for Crawford's family, said in a statement on Wednesday that they were "disappointed, disgusted and confused". He said: "They are heartbroken that justice was not done in the tragic death of their only son."