Family of man killed by police may pursue legal action

The family of a SEPTA bus driver killed by police earlier this month is taking steps to clear his name.

Eric Crawley, 38, was fatally shot by a police officer from the 14th district on June 17 after he went to break up a fight between his sister Danielle and her boyfriend at their residence in the 7900 block of Rugby Street in Northwest Philadelphia.

“The defendant arrived after the disturbance was quelled – he had a gun on his person; it was in a holster,” said Lt. Raymond Evers of the Philadelphia Police Department. Crawley was unresponsive to officers’ instructions to put his hands on the car.

According to Lt. Evers, Crawley then removed his gun from the holster, which prompted officers to command Crawley to put down his weapon. Crawley was again uncooperative and, in response, the police officer shot him once in the chest. Crawley was pronounced dead minutes later at Albert Einstein Hospital.

The incident is under investigation by internal affairs but the family’s lawyer, Nakea Hurdle, says someone must be held accountable.

“At the end of the day, something was done wrong and an individual was responsible for this wrongdoing and that individual should be subject to the consequences,” said Hurdle.

Hurdle says there is a possibility that the family will file a wrongful death suit or private criminal complaint based on the events of the incident.

According to Hurdle, Crawley arrived at the scene to mediate a domestic situation on behalf of his sister and didn’t exhibit “any kind of animosity towards the officer.”

Hurdle adds that Rose Crawley, the mother of the victim, says her son did not touch his weapon. However, she was nearly struck by the bullet that killed her son as she was standing next to him, holding his arm.

Soon after, her daughter Danielle Crawley, sister to the victim, was immediately brought to the Police Headquarters at 8Th and Race streets, “still in blood stained clothing,” according to the family’s lawyer.

According to Hurdle, Danielle stated that her brother never touched his gun, but was threatened by police.  The officers “threatened to take her children and they threatened to put her in a cell if she didn’t say that he drew his weapon,” Hurdle said.

It was only after that this that Danielle told police that her brother did reach for his gun, according to the family’s attorney.

Lt. Evers said today he would not comment on that specific allegation.

Although the family is considering taking legal action, ultimately they seek justice on behalf of their loved one.

They hope to clear his name and how he is being portrayed in the media, saying that this type of behavior was out of character for the recently engaged father of four.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal