April 6, 2016

John Crawford was shot in a Walmart store after a 911 caller alerted police to the possibility that there was a man with a gun in the store. After a grand jury investigation, the police officer who shot Crawford was exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Now there could be a small measure of justice, as the 911 caller who inaccurately described Crawford could face charges for making false alarms.

Root found probable cause that Ronald T. Ritchie, the lone person to call 911 from Beavercreek’s Walmart on Aug. 5, 2014, could be prosecuted for making false alarms, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by maximums of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Root ruled that there was not probable cause to prosecute Ritchie for inciting to violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide. Ten private citizens filed affidavits in Fairborn Municipal Court on March 25, in reference to the shooting

Ritchie called 911 and said there was a black man waving a rifle at people, including children, which led to Beavercreek police to the scene. Officer Sean Williams shot Crawford twice after police said Crawford twice did not respond to orders to drop the air rifle he picked up from store shelves.

If nothing else, perhaps people will stop and think before they call 911 with false reports of people menacing with guns.

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