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DeWine Appoints Lead Prosecutor to Beavercreek Officer-Involved Shooting Case
XENIA -- In his effort to keep the Beavercreek deadly police involved Walmart shooting as transparent as possible, Attorney General Mike DeWine held a press conference to update everyone on the case's progress.
"The public has every right to know how much we can tell them about this," DeWine said.
Seventy interviews, 1,000 documents on the two officers involved, and video footage of every movement taken by John Crawford III, the officers, and the 911 caller inside Walmart. All of it is the evidence a Greene County grand jury will hear and see from special prosecutor Mark Piepmeier.
"I truly believe Mark Piepmeier has the balanced judgment, the balanced judgment needed in this case," DeWine said.
Piepmeier, who is the Chief Trial Counsel in Hamilton County, has been involved in at least 100 use-of-force cases, including the indictment of the officer who killed Timothy Thomas. That killing sparked the 2001 Cincinnati race riots.
"He has taken many cases to the grand jury, many cases involving actions by police officers. In some cases, the grand jury has indicted the officer. And in some cases, it has not," DeWine explained.
On Monday, DeWine met with a number of faith-based leaders who have major concerns over the fairness of the grand jury. DeWine told them the judge and prosecutor will ensure each juror can be fair and impartial.
DeWine has been criticized for not releasing the surveillance video inside the Walmart. He says he cannot think of any prosecutor who would. Only the Crawford family has seen it, whose attorney then told the media the police murdered Crawford.
"I don't regret doing that at all," said DeWine, referring to releasing the video to the family. "It was the right thing to do, but to put the video out on TV and let it be played I think it's not the right thing to do."
Some concerned citizens who showed up for Tuesday's announcement are skeptical of DeWine's decisions.
"The person making the choice is from Greene County, they're choosing someone from Hamilton County. I still don't see that as an unbiased choice," said Michael Casselli of Yellow Springs.
Darshel Kaur of Beavercreek said, "I really didn't have faith in the process in the first place and just really want to get the federal department of justice involved."
XENIA -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said on Tuesday he is appointing Mark Piepmeier to be the lead prosecutor in the case of the Aug. 5 officer-involved shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart.
Calling it a "very serious case, DeWine spoke this morning to the media from within a Greene County courtroom. DeWine was flanked by Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen K. Haller.
Piepmeier is the chief trial counsel attorney in the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
"We wanted to find a prosecutor who has a long history of prosecuting felony cases and one who has extensive experience handling officer-involved shootings," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
DeWine said Piepmeier has worked for the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office since 1981, and has more than 30 years of criminal trial experience.
The attorney general said the special grand jury, originally scheduled to begin September 3 has been rescheduled until September 22, because Piepmeier would not be available until then.
DeWine said he will not release the Walmart surveillance video from the night of the shooting, which shows the events before, during and after the fatal shooting. Protesters repeatedly have called for the release of that video.
Several people inside and outside the courtroom where DeWine spoke this morning doubted the attorney general's appointed prosecutor would be impartial, given DeWine's ties to Greene County.
About six people in the courtroom during the conference and about eight people outside, who called themselves concerned citizens, said the case should go directly to the U.S. Justice department because of that perceived bias.
DeWine said during the news conference he is confident the grand jury will do what is right.
DeWine, Haller and Attorney to Speak This Morning at New Conferences
XENIA -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen K. Haller will speak this morning at a news conference about the officer-involved shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart.
The event is planned for 10:30 a.m. at Greene County Courthouse, Courtroom 3 in Xenia.
And at 11 a.m. today, an attorney for the family of John Crawford III, the man fatally killed Aug. 5 by Beavercreek police, will hold a news conference about their efforts to get DeWine's office to release store surveillance video to the public and their request to have the u.S. Department of Justice take over the investigation.
The attorney's conference will be held at his office in Dayton.
We will be at these events and will bring you details from both. Check back soon.
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