City officials played back camera images from the police for the first time on Sunday, almost a week after the fatal shooting. The video raises more questions about the shooting of the unarmed black man under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI).
Police said the shooting happened after Walker, 25, fled on Monday, June 27 when officers tried to initiate a traffic stop for traffic and equipment violations.
After a chase, Walker got out of his car and a foot chase ensued, police said. Officers believed Walker was reaching for his waist and they “felt that Mr. Walker had turned and gesturing and moving into a firing position,” Mylett said.
Walker, however, was not armed, Mylett said Sunday.
During the chase with the vehicle, police said, a shot was fired from Walker’s car, police said.
In voiced body camera video, police said about 40 seconds after Walker drove away from police, “a sound similar to a gunshot can be heard on the officers’ body-worn cameras.” Police also said there was “a flash of light” on the driver’s side of the car at the time of the noise.
“That changes the whole nature of the traffic stop,” Mylett said at the news conference on Sunday. “It went from a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue. And then the chase continued.”
A pistol and a loaded magazine were found in Walker’s car after the shooting, along with a gold ring.
Eight officers were “directly involved in the shooting,” Mylett said, and all have been placed on paid administrative leave, according to department policy.
The BCI, which is investigating the deadly shooting, has yet to confirm how many times Walker was shot, Mylett said, and it is still unknown how many shots were fired.
“But based on the video, I expect that number to be high,” he said. “A lot of shots were fired.”
Mylett said officers found a shell casing near the site of the attempted traffic stop that was “consistent with the firearm Mr. Walker had in his vehicle. The BCI will determine whether or not that casing came from the gun.” came or not.”
He added that a traffic camera captured “what we believe to be a muzzle flash coming out of the car. Again, the BCI will determine whether that is the case.”
Walker died of multiple gunshot wounds to the face, abdomen and thighs, CNN affiliate WEWS reported, citing findings from his media partner, the Akron Beacon Journal.
The Journal, which had permission to view an investigation sheet at the coroner’s office, said it “indicated that Walker was seen on his back and handcuffed when a coroner arrived at the shooting.”
Walker family calls for peace, justice
Walker relative Robert Dejournett, who is a pastor at St. Ashworth Temple Church of God In Christ in Akron, told CNN’s Polo Sandoval that the family wants Walker to be remembered as a cheerful young man who was full of life.
“We are God-fearing people who believe in God and we want to illustrate that even in this process,” Dejournett said. “We don’t want riots or anything like that.”
Dejournett said the family hopes the shooting will lead to systemic change.
“We want to take that and we want to use it for the benefit of systemic change,” Dejournett said. “We want to be treated like people, you know, black men, young men, they’re scared when it comes to the police — it shouldn’t be,” he said.
Lawyers for Jayland Walker’s family held a press conference shortly after police released the footage, stressing that while the family wants answers from the police, they also want the public to “bring peace, give dignity and give justice a chance — for Jayland.” .”
“Every time I watched the video it got worse for me,” attorney Ken Abbarno said. “Every move I see, every shot I hear, and every time I see Jayland lying on the ground, it gets more and more horrifying.”
Abbarno said the video is “a lot more than just ‘hard to see’. It’s something that should never, ever be seen.”
Bobby DiCello, another family lawyer, said Walker had “never a day in his life broken the law — no crime of any kind.” DiCello said Walker’s behavior on Monday “would be indicative of some suffering, some fear, something he was going through.”
Police union supports the officers
The Akron Police Union believes the officers involved in the shooting were justified in their actions, “including (with) the number of shots fired,” according to a statement released Sunday by Brotherhood Police Akron Lodge No. 7.
“The decision to use lethal force, as well as the number of shots fired, is consistent with the use of force protocols and officer training,” the statement said.
Each officer is “fully cooperating” with the BCI’s independent investigation, the statement said.
City of Akron asks the public to keep calm
Prior to the release of the images, Akron officials asked the community to be patient and allow the investigation as they peacefully protested if they wanted to demonstrate.
“I won’t mince my words — the video you’re about to watch is heartbreaking and very difficult to absorb,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said at a press conference ahead of the release of the images.
The mayor recognized the rights of Akron residents to protest. “But I hope the community agrees that violence and destruction are not the answer,” he said, asking for the demonstrations to be peaceful.
“Please be patient and let the Attorney General do his job,” he said.
City leaders stressed that footage was released under a new city ordinance that requires video footage documenting the use of force by an active police officer to be released within seven days of the incident.
Mylett said the city welcomes peaceful protests but is prepared if demonstrations turn violent.
“We have developed a plan of operations to manage this city and provide safe space for people to protest,” Mylett said. “And just in case it becomes a situation where it’s no longer peaceful, we have an operation plan for that as well, and I’m not going to go into details about that.”