Akron, Ohio Prepares for Riots After Police Reportedly Shot Fleeing Black Man 60 Times; 4th of July Festival Canceled
Heavy duty trucks were parked in front of police headquarters in Akron Friday morning as the northeast Ohio city is on edge after reports a Black man fleeing a traffic stop Monday was shot and killed by eight police officers who reportedly fired ninety rounds–hitting the man, 25-year-old Jayland Walker, sixty times. Akron announced Thursday the city’s four-day Rib, White and Blue Festival was being canceled, however there are still fireworks displays planned for Monday.
Jayland Walker, family photo.
WKYC-TV reporter Austin Love, “With the potential of unrest in Akron, snow plows are being used as street barriers surrounding the area of the Akron Police Department. This in the wake of the shooting death of 25 year old Jayland Walker. I have details this morning on @wkyc”
With the potential of unrest in Akron, snow plows are being used as street barriers surrounding the area of the Akron Police Department. This in the wake of the shooting death of 25 year old Jayland Walker. I have details this morning on @wkyc pic.twitter.com/cnre5r8Vfm
— Austin Love (@AustinLoveTV) July 1, 2022
Initial statement by Akron police posted to Facebook on Tuesday:
Critical Incident – Officer Involved Shooting
At approximately 12:30 yesterday morning, Akron Police Officers attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation at Thayer Ave and E. Tallmadge Ave. The operator of the vehicle refused to stop; as a result, a vehicle pursuit was initiated. The suspect vehicle entered Route 8 southbound as the officers gave chase. During the pursuit, officers reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle.
The pursuit continued for several minutes until the suspect vehicle slowed down near the intersection of E. Wilbeth Rd. and Clairmont St. While the vehicle was still moving, the suspect fled from the vehicle on foot. Officers engaged the suspect in a foot pursuit in order to apprehend him. The suspect ran northbound into a nearby parking lot. Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them. In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.
Officers immediately summonsed for EMS to as they began administering first aid until the arrival of paramedics. The suspect was pronounced deceased on scene.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy. The suspect’s name is being withheld pending positive identification and family notifications.
Per departmental procedure, the officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave.
The initial investigation will be conducted by members of the Akron Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit with the assistance of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. At the completion of the investigation, the case will be handed over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for further review before being presented to the Summit County Grand Jury for evaluation.
A separate internal investigation will be conducted by the Office of Professional Standards and Accountability. The results of their investigation will be provided to the police chief and the City of Akron Police Auditor for review.
The incident remains under investigation. Additional information will be available in the coming days.
Report # 22-78920
WKYC reported on the autopsy of Walker (excerpt):
The final autopsy report has not yet been put in writing, Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler said. That report is expected to be released this week.
Walker’s death has been ruled a homicide, Kohler’s office said Wednesday.
However, the photos provided Wednesday confirm what police sources had previously told 3News Investigates: Eight officers fired more than 90 shots, causing more than 60 wounds to Walker’s body.
3News Investigates examined autopsy records, including about 150 photos of Walker’s wounds and about 60 photos of bullet fragments. A large majority of the wounds were to the front of Walker’s body. Wounds could be seen from his face down to his lower legs.
Some wounds were depicted on his back, but it is unclear if the marks are entrance or exit wounds.
Akron police say they attempted to stop Walker’s car just after midnight Monday for a traffic infraction and equipment issue. Walker instead led the officers on a high-speed chase down East Tallmadge Avenue toward State Route 8.
At some point, police say Walker fired a gun. Sources tell 3News Investigates that one casing was found in Walker’s car and a second was found on the roadway near Route 8.
…Police say they first deployed their tasers, but ultimately opened fire after they said Walker made motions that caused them to fear bodily harm. Eight officers unleashed a hail of gunfire that was captured on body cameras worn by the officers.
Sources say some of the last shots were fired while Walker’s body was on the pavement. Walker was on the ground dead when medical help arrived. Autopsy records show he was handcuffed after the shooting. He was not armed at the time he was shot, sources said.
A gun, however, was recovered inside Walker’s car, the same sources confirmed.
WKYC video of the scene of the shooting shows dozens of evidence markers.
The mayor and police chief issued a joint statement Wednesday about the shooting:
The following is a joint statement from Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett regarding the officer involved shooting which occurred Monday, June 27, shortly after 12:30am, which left Jayland Walker deceased.
“We know that no police officer ever wants to discharge their service weapon in the line of duty. And anytime they must, it’s a dark day for our city, for the families of those involved, as well as for the officers. Tragically, we are once again faced with a young man, with his life before him, gone too soon. Every single life is precious, and the loss of any life is absolutely devastating to our entire community. Our prayers are with Jayland Walker’s loved ones, and we offer our sincere condolences to all those who knew him. Our thoughts are also with our Akron police officers and their families.
We want to reassure our citizens that more information will be coming in the following days, including the body-worn camera footage that recorded this incident. We are keeping our promise to the community, understanding that there can be no trust without transparency and follow-through on commitment.
We have every confidence in the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct a thorough, fair, and honest investigation. We will cooperate fully with that investigation and have made it a top priority for our staffs. As a city, we are committed to this process and trust that it will yield a fuller understanding of this incident.”
Akron was already on edge over the deadly black-on-white beatdown murder of 17-year-old Ethan Liming on June 2nd.
UPDATE: Akron plans to release police bodycam videos on Sunday, reported the Akron Beacon Journal (excerpt):
Akron will release bodycam footage of the shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker by Akron police on Sunday.
Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett will host a press conference 1 p.m. Sunday to talk about Walker’s death and to provide further details and to review video footage of the shooting.
Bodycam video footage will be released immediately after the press conference, the city said in a news release.
Mylett will meet with members of the Walker family and their legal representation before the press conference to allow them to review the footage.
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Author: Kristinn Taylor