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Attorney: Administration change won’t affect Crawford investigation

A change in presidential administration shouldn’t affect the Justice Department’s investigation into the August 2014 police-involved shooting of John Crawford III, but southern Ohio’s top federal prosecutor said there’s still no official estimate for when the nearly 27-month-old case will be complete.

Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said Thursday that no matter who takes over as U.S. Attorney General, it won’t affect the decision by the Justice Department to seek or not seek an indictment.

“For ongoing cases, it really means nothing,” Glassman told this news organization. “When you change administrations in a U.S. Attorney’s Office, or even in the (DOJ), more generally, there could be switches in terms of priorities which have to do with allocating resources differently.

“But that’s at a macro level. Individual cases, which are all handled by career prosecutors, really, are never affected.”

The DOJ investigation into whether Crawford’s civil rights were violated when he was shot and killed Aug. 5, 2014, by Beavercreek police Officer Sean Williams has been ongoing since Sept. 24, 2014. Williams was not indicted by a Greene County special grand jury.

Asked Thursday what the investigation’s status is or when a decision may be made, Glassman said, “I’ve got no changes to report” and referred to his April 2016 statement in which he said the probe “has taken longer than some may have anticipated.”

In an exclusive statement to this news organization in April, Glassman said: “There are lawyers from the Civil Rights Division assigned to the matter, plus one trial attorney and one supervisor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“All parties involved, as well as the public, deserve a fair, thorough, and prompt resolution. But fair and thorough have to come before prompt. We must be satisfied that the investigation is complete before reaching any conclusions.”

Attorney Michael Wright, who represents Crawford’s parents in a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Beavercreek and Walmart, said he hasn’t heard from the DOJ since a September meeting in Washington, D.C.

“From our perspective, I don’t know what progress has been made,” Wright said. A federal judge is allowing Williams and Sgt. David Darkow to avoid depositions in the civil case because the DOJ investigation is ongoing.

Glassman said the conclusion of the investigation is a collaborative effort in which prosecutors and investigators agree there is no other information available that would affect the decision.

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