SHOCKING footage has been released revealing the moment Akron police killed an unarmed 25-year-old Black man.
At a press conference on July 3, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett released the body camera footage from the night Jayland Walker was killed.
Police say the incident began right around 12.30am on June 27 when Jayland Walker refused to stop his vehicle for a traffic violation and an equipment violation.
A pursuit ensued, with officers reporting that Walker discharged a weapon from his vehicle.
As the chase continued and Walker’s vehicle slowed down, he reportedly exited the car while it was still moving, and was wearing a ski mask.
Officers say they then attempted to use their tasers to apprehend Walker, but those attempts were unsuccessful.
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Walker continued to flee on foot to a nearby parking lot, where he then stopped and turned towards officers, who then began shooting, according to officials.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office is conducting an autopsy on Walker to determine an exact cause of death.
Mylett said that the medical examiner initially found more than 60 wounds on Walker’s body, with an exact number of shots fired yet to be determined.
The officers reportedly attempted to help Walker after shooting him, but he died at the scene.
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VIDEO FOOTAGE RELEASED
The video release is required as part of an ordinance adopted by the city in 2021 which states that such footage must be shared within seven days of the incident.
Footage from the eight cops involved in the shooting, plus an additional five officers who responded to the scene but did not fire their weapons, has been released.
A full transcript of the radio traffic from that night has also been released.
The eight officers – including six white males, one white female, and one Black male – involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, per the police department’s established procedures.
None of the eight officers have substantiated complaints nor fatal shootings on their records, per the Akron Police Department.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an independent investigation of the incident.
A handgun, loaded magazine, and gold wedding ring were later found in Walker’s vehicle.
But no gun was found on his body when he died.
“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,” Horrigan said.
“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.”
“By formally requesting that BCI handle this initial investigation, we are following what I believe to be best practice and which many communities across the country are now doing,” said Mylett.
“Utilizing an independent entity to conduct the investigation will be a further step in increasing trust and accountability with our citizens.”
Deputy Mayor Marco Sommerville said that releasing the footage is a change that the community “has been requesting for decades.”
“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 POLICE AND MAYOR RESPOND TO SHOOTING
Horrigan and Mylett released a joint statement on June 29 in response to the shooting.
“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,” the statement begins.
“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.
The statement continues, reassuring citizens that the body cam footage would be released in the coming days.
“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.”
At the July 3 press conference, Horrigan added: “I fully support our residents right to peacefully assemble, but I hope the community can agree that violence and destruction are not the answer.”
THE AKRON COMMUNITY RESPONDS
Shortly after the footage was released, hundreds of members of the Akron community took to the streets.
Protestors gathered to condemn the actions of the police department and officers involved.
The demonstration was organized by the NAACP chapter in Akron.
Many were carrying signs reading “Justice for Jayland” and were heard chanting: “No more dying.”
The Walker family has also released statements through their lawyers.
“They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun,” Bobby DiCello, lead attorney for the family told The Daily Beast.
DiCello’s colleague, Ken Abbarno agreed, saying, “The officers will need to account for every single action that they did.”
“We live in a society where we can never see this happen again.”
“The Walker family is praying for peace, they are asking for peace, they are praying for accountability,” Abbarno said following Sunday’s press conference.
“We cannot villainize Jayland.”
AKRON CANCELS JULY FOURTH CELEBRATIONS
Also in response to the shooting, the city of Akron has canceled its Rib, White, & Blue Festival.
The festival was supposed to be held from July 1-4.
In a statement released by the city, residents were encouraged to find other plans and opportunities to celebrate the holiday weekend.
“I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend,” Horrigan said in a statement.
“Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family.
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“Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.”
The city also said that all vendors and musical acts scheduled to appear at the festival will be compensated.