Two days after George Floyd died in police custody, Calvin Horton was shot and killed by a Minneapolis pawnshop owner during a protest-turned-riot over Floyd’s death. Now, Horton’s family—who is represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump—are demanding justice, and county officials are asking for the public’s help in providing information on the shooting.
Tuesday would have been Horton’s 44th birthday. His family wasn’t able to celebrate it with him but they did honor him by gathering with their lawyers and members of the community to demand justice.
“I just want justice for him on his birthday, that’s what I want,” Horton’s mother Mae Roberts told Fox 9 reporters covering the demonstration. “I want justice, capital J-u-s-t-i-c-e.”
Horton was allegedly shot by the shop’s owner John Rieple outside of Cadillac Pawn on May 27 after two days of protests, rioting and looting, according to Star Tribune. Rieple was arrested at the scene following the shooting and held at Hennepin County Jail for several days but he was released without charges pending further investigation, KSTP5 reports.
Investigators say they haven’t been able to find any surveillance video of the shooting and only have one witness who saw part of the incident.
The family, however, said they have seen a Facebook video that shows Horton was receiving first aid by paramedics in front of the pawnshop before he was shot and that it proves Rieple wasn’t protecting his store from an attack when he started firing into a crowd of protesters—which they said he did from inside the store, Fox 9 reports.
“He shot out into a crowd of dozens of people, and we know bullets don’t have a name on it. That bullet could have hit anybody,” Crump said.
The family also said the video, as well as their viewing of Horton’s body, shows he was shot in the back, not in the chest, as the Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported.
“We’re absolutely heartbroken at the fact that the man who was able to shoot my dad is still free,” Cadaezhah Horton, Calvin’s daughter said during the demonstration. “And we’re left to feel as if we’re the ones in prison.”
Crump—who announced Monday that he is representing Horton’s family, according to the Tribune—said that not charging Rieple sets a bad precedent.
“This is a precedent-setting matter,” he said. “I mean, there are protests going on all over America, and if we allow business owners to shoot Black people who are protesting for Black Lives Matter, then what kind of message are we sending to the world?”
According to Fox 9, the medical examiner’s office said they could not comment on the family’s claim that Horton was shot in the back and the Minneapolis Police Department said they can’t confirm if Horton was inside or outside of the store when he was shot because this is an active homicide investigation.
On Tuesday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman asked for the public’s help in the investigation into Horton’s death and the possible prosecution of Rieple, News 5 reports.
“We need the help of anyone who was in or around Cadillac Pawn at the time of the shooting,” Freeman said. “We need to know what happened several minutes before the shooting and then the shooting itself.”
According to News 5, anyone with information about the shooting of Horton has been instructed to contact Crimestoppers at 800-222-8477 or on their website.