Jayland Walker Was Killed By Police During A Traffic Stop
25-year-old Jayland Walker was shot and killed by Akron, Ohio police during an attempted traffic stop on June 27. CNN reported Walker allegedly fled during the attempted stop, and subsequentially engaged in a vehicle and then on-foot chase with law enforcement. Officers claimed Walker was armed, and “a sound consistent with a gunshot can be heard” in the body camera footage from Walker’s vehicle.
After the vehicle chase, Walker allegedly exited his car and ran on foot, with officers following attempting to apprehend him using tasers. According to their account, Walker turned toward them and under the belief that Walker was reaching for a gun, they began to fire.
Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett issued a joint statement two days after the shooting saying “As a city, we are committed to this process and trust that it will yield a fuller understanding of this incident.”
The New York Times reported Bobby DiCello, a lawyer representing the family claimed Walker was running away when he was fatally wounded.
“The rear windshield is intact, the front windshield is intact and all side windows are intact,” said DiCello. “There’s no call, there’s no report that we’ve seen and there’s been no mention by the chief in personal discussions with him that a gun was seen outside the car, waving at or being pointed at anyone.”
He Was Shot At Least 60 Times
Medical examiners confirmed Walker was handcuffed behind his back when his body arrived at the coroner’s office. CNN reported the preliminary report by the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office contained images showing Walker’s dead body in handcuffs at the crime scene as well as evidence of life-saving efforts allegedly made to sustain his life.
In total, eight officers fired at Walker resulting in more than 60 gunshot wounds on both sides of his body. The violent body camera footage was released by the city of Akron on July 3rd, showing the magnitude of the tragedy.
“I am urging the public to do one of the most difficult things I can ask, and that is to be patient and let the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation do their work,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan in a statement. “It’s my commitment to be as open and transparent as we can be, given that there is an ongoing independent investigation. I trust that investigation to be fair, thorough, and just.”
“Releasing the body-worn footage in a timely fashion and moving to an independent investigation are the types of changes our community has been requesting for decades,” added Deputy Mayor Marco Sommerville. “From here, we need to be patient and allow that investigation to run its course. I’m urging peace for our city throughout this process.”
Akron, Ohio Responded With Protests
Mayor Daniel Horrigan canceled the city’s planned Rib, White, & Blue Festival, an Independence Day celebration that was to take place from Friday through Monday, however citizens still took the streets. According to the Washington Post, 50 people were arrested over the July 4th holiday weekend protesting the shooting death of Jayland Walker, with charges including rioting, failure to disperse, and misconduct during an emergency.
Protests earlier in the day on Sunday were peaceful, however after a curfew issued by Mayor Horrigan went into place, authorities claimed dozens of people remained in the area after the curfew was initiated and additionally alleged “violent” protesters damaged businesses, restaurants, and residential structures and set small fires.
Demonstrations continued as the investigation continues, and according to USA Today, family members of Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake were arrested on Wednesday night (July 6). Jacob Blake Sr., father of Jacob Blake Jr. who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020 and left paralyzed, was charged with riot, resisting arrest, failure to disperse, and disorderly conduct.
Bianca Taylor, the aunt of Breonna Taylor who was fatally shot by Lousiville Police during a botched attempt to serve a no-knock warrant in 2020, was charged with riot, disorderly conduct, and failure to disperse.
His Family And Friends Continue To Seek Justice
As Walker’s family continues to seek justice for his death, they have spoken out about the video, the shooting, and are demanding answers from the city of Akron. DiCello has refuted claims that a firearm was found in Walker’s vehicle according to News 5.
“It just doesn’t seem like it’s real,” said his aunt LuJuana Dawkins to the news station. “I plan not to…Never. It’s bad enough to know he was shot 60 times like a rat in the street, that hurts so bad,” added Dawkins when asked if she had viewed the body camera footage.
His uncle, Roddray Walker, Sr. shared, “Still when I wake up, I saw…’am I in a dream right now,’ because it should be but you know it’s hard to believe.” Walker continues, “What I think about is his mother, his sister. I don’t have time to think about my feelings.”
During an interview with ABC News, displayed above, his sister Jada Walker spoke through tears.
“I won’t see him again. I won’t be able to hug him again, or just remind him that I love him or anything like that,” she revealed. “I can’t fathom to see any sort of video of him being gunned down that amount of times.”
“I’ve never known him to own a gun of any sort at all.”
President Joe Biden Says DOJ Is Reviewing The Case
President Joe Biden traveled to Cleveland on Wednesday where he spoke about Walker’s death.
“Before I begin, I want to make one serious comment about the shooting death of Jayland Walker,” said POTUS according to the Akron Beacon Journal. “The Justice Department and the civil rights division of the FBI field office in Akron, Ohio, and the local U.S. attorney’s office are closely monitoring and reviewing what happened.”
He continued, “If the evidence reveals potential violations of federal criminal statutes, the Justice Department will take the appropriate action and I just want you to know what’s going to happen.”
According to FOX 8, each officer involved is in the early career stage with most working on the police force for less than three years. They were separated at the scene and the president of the Akron police union claims they are cooperating with pending investigations.