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Video shows police kill Black man in hail of gunfire in Ohio, triggers protests


Akron police released video of the shooting of Jayland Walker, 25, who was killed June 27 in a pursuit that had started with an attempted traffic stop. The mayor called the shooting “heartbreaking” while asking for patience from the community.

It’s not clear how many shots were fired by the eight officers involved, but Walker sustained more than 60 wounds. An attorney for Walker’s family said officers kept firing even after he was on the ground.

Officers attempted to stop Walker’s car around 12:30 a.m. for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but less than a minute into a pursuit, the sound of a shot was heard from the car, and a transportation department camera captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash coming from the vehicle, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said. That changed the nature of the case from “a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue,” he said.

Police body camera videos show what unfolded after the roughly six-minute pursuit. Several shouting officers with guns drawn approach the slowing car on foot, as it rolls up over a curb and onto a sidewalk. A person wearing a ski mask exits the passenger door and runs toward a parking lot. Police chase him for about 10 seconds before officers fire from multiple directions, in a burst of shots that lasts 6 or 7 seconds.

At least one officer had tried first to use a stun gun, but that was unsuccessful, police said.

Mylett said Walker’s actions are hard to distinguish on the video in real time, but a still photo seems to show him “going down to his waist area” and another appears to show him turning toward an officer. He said a third picture “captures a forward motion of his arm.”

In a statement shared Sunday with reporters, the local police union said the officers thought there was an immediate threat of serious harm, and that it believes their actions and the number of shots will be found justified in line with their training and protocols. The union said the officers are cooperating with the investigation.

Police said more than 60 wounds were found on Walker’s body but further investigation is needed to determine exactly how many rounds the officers fired and how many times Walker was hit.

The footage released by police ends with the officers’ gunfire and doesn’t show what happened next. Officers provided aid, and one can be heard saying Walker still had a pulse, but he was later pronounced dead, Mylett said.

The chief said an officer firing at someone has to be “ready to explain why they did what they did, they need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing … and they need to be held to account.” But he said he is withholding judgment on their actions until they give their statements.

A handgun, a loaded magazine and an apparent wedding ring were found on the seat of the car. A casing consistent with the weapon was later found in the area where officers believed a shot had come from the vehicle.

State Attorney General Dave Yost vowed a “complete, fair and expert investigation” by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and cautioned that “body-worn camera footage is just one view of the whole picture.”

Akron police are conducting a separate internal investigation about whether the 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 length of service with Akron police ranges from one-and-a-half to six years, and none of them has a record of discipline, substantiated complaints or fatal shootings, it said.

Demonstrators marched peacefully through the city and gathered in front of the Akron justice center after the video was released. NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement that Walker’s death wasn’t self-defense, but “was murder. Point blank.”

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Demonstrators gather outside Akron City Hall to protest the killing of Jayland Walker, shot by police, in Akron, Ohio, July 3, 2022. Photo by Matthew Hatcher / AFP (AFP)

Walker’s family is calling for accountability but also for peace, their lawyers said. One of the attorneys, Bobby DiCello, called the burst of police gunfire excessive and unreasonable, and said police handcuffed Walker before trying to provide first aid.

“How it got to this with a pursuit is beyond me,” DiCello said.

He said Walker’s family doesn’t know why he fled from police. Walker was grieving the recent death of his fiancee, but his family had no indication of concern beyond that, and he wasn’t a criminal, DiCello said.

“I hope we remember that as Jayland ran across that parking lot, he was unarmed,” DiCello said.

He said he doesn’t know whether the gold ring found near the gun in the car belonged to Walker.

The death has rattled the city, prompted the cancellation of July 4 activities and drawn outrage from racial justice advocates.

Several hundred protesters marched Sunday in Akron, Ohio after the release of body camera footage that showed police fatally shooting a Black man with several dozen rounds of bullets.

As anger rose over the latest police killing of a Black man in the United States, and authorities appealed for calm, a crowd marched to City Hall carrying banners with slogans such as “Justice for Jayland.”

The slogan refers to Jayland Walker, 25, who was killed Monday after officers tried to stop his car over a traffic violation, police said.

Sunday marked the fourth straight day of protests. Demonstrations were peaceful but for a tense moment in which some protesters got close to a line of police and shouted at them.

After the first rally, a crowd of people remained in the street protesting as evening fell but it was in a less organized fashion. There were no reports of violence.

But fearing unrest, authorities in the city of 190,000 people moved snowplows and other heavy equipment near the police department to serve as a barrier.

After initially providing few details of the shooting, Akron authorities released two videos Sunday: one that was a compilation of body-camera footage, body-cam still frames and voiceover, and another of the complete body-cam footage of the entire chase and shooting.

The voiceover explained that Walker did not stop and drove off. Police engaged in a car chase and said a shot had been fired from Walker’s vehicle.

After being chased for several minutes, Walker got out of his car while it was still moving and fled on foot. Officers tried to subdue him with their tasers, but he kept running.

Several officers finally chased Walker to a parking lot. The body-cam footage is too blurry to see clearly what happens, but an initial police statement released after the shooting says he behaved in a way that caused officers to believe he posed a “deadly threat.”

The shooting was the latest in a spate of killings of Black men and women in the United States that critics termed ‘racist and unjustified’ including the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis that sparked global outrage and triggered protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a convenience store employee called up and told the police that Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.

17 minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

The eight officers directly involved in the Ohio shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.



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