Akron police have released video of the shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, who was killed June 27 in a pursuit that began with an attempted traffic stop. The mayor called the shooting “heartbreaking” while asking the community for patience.
It’s unclear how many shots were fired by the eight police officers involved, but Jayland Walker suffered more than 60 injuries. A lawyer for Mr Walker’s family claimed the officers continued to fire even after he was on the ground.
Officers attempted to stop Mr Walker’s car at around 12.30pm for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but less than a minute into a chase the noise of A gunshot was heard from the car and a Transportation Department camera captured what appeared to be a cannon flash from the vehicle, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said. It changed the nature of the business from
routine traffic check to a public safety issuehe said.
Videos from police body cameras show what happened after the roughly six-minute chase. Several shouting officers with firearms drawn approach the slowing car on foot, as it rolls over a curb and onto a sidewalk. A person wearing a ski mask comes out of the passenger door and runs into a parking lot. Police chase him for about 10 seconds before officers fire in multiple directions, in a flurry of gunfire that lasts 6 or 7 seconds.
At least one officer had first tried using a stun gun, but it was unsuccessful, police said.
Mr Mylett said Mr Walker’s actions are hard to make out on live video, but a still photo appears to show him
down to his waist area’ and another appears to show him turning to an officer. He said a third image `captures a forward movement of his arm.
In a statement shared with reporters on Sunday, the local police union said officers believed there was an immediate threat of serious injury and believed their actions and the number of shots would be deemed justified. according to their training and protocols. The union said the police were cooperating with the investigation.
60 wounds on the victim’s body
Despite more than 60 wounds found on Walker’s body, police say further investigation is needed to determine exactly how many shots officers fired and how many times Mr Walker was hit.
The footage released by the police ends with the officers shooting and does not show what happened next. Officers provided help, and Mr Walker can be heard to still have a pulse, but he was later pronounced dead, Mr Mylett said.
The chief of police explained that an officer shooting someone must be
ready to explain why he did what he did, he must be able to articulate the specific threats he faced and he must be held accountable. But he said he is withholding judgment on their actions until they make their statements.
A handgun, a loaded magazine and an apparent wedding ring were found on the car seat. A casing compatible with the weapon was later found in the area where officers believed a gunshot had come from the vehicle.
State Attorney General Dave Yost promised a
full, fair and expert investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and warned that
images from a body worn camera are an overview only.
Akron Police is conducting a separate internal investigation into whether any officers violated department rules or policies.
The officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases. Seven of them are white, and one is black, according to the department. Their tenure with the Akron police ranges from a year and a half to six years, and none of them have a disciplinary history, substantiated complaints or fatal shootings under their belt, it said. he adds.
Protesters marched peacefully through the city and gathered outside the Akron Justice Center after the video was released. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) President Derrick Johnson said in a statement that Mr Walker’s death was not in self-defense, but
was point-blank murder.
Mr Walker’s family are calling for accountability, but also for peace, their lawyers have said. One of the lawyers, Bobby DiCello, called the police flurry of gunfire excessive and unreasonable, and said police handcuffed Mr Walker before trying to administer first aid.
How it got here with a chase is beyond mesaid Mr. DiCello.
He said Mr Walker’s family did not know why he fled from the police. Mr Walker was mourning the recent death of his fiancee, but his family had no reason to be concerned beyond that, and he was not a criminal, Mr DiCello said.
Hope we remember when Jayland Walker walked through that parking lot he was unarmedsaid Mr. DiCello.
He added that he did not know if the gold ring found near the gun in the car belonged to Mr Walker.