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Monday, September 26, 2022

What We Know About the Deadly Police Shooting of Jayland Walker

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Walker was unarmed at the time of his murder, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett told reporters. After the shooting, a gun was found in Walker’s vehicle, police said, and officers said Walker fired a gun from his vehicle during the chase.

Protests began peacefully on Sunday, but that changed after nightfall, Horrigan said in a statement, adding that “significant property damage was done to downtown Akron.”

Police said they arrested about 50 people after dozens of protesters failed to disperse from the downtown area.

While the majority were peaceful, a group of “violent protesters” caused significant property damage to nearby businesses, restaurants and residential buildings, shattered windows and set small fires, according to a press release from the Akron Police Department.

Police initially gave verbal instructions to protesters, offering “a reasonable amount of time to obey,” according to the report, but later deployed a “chemical irritant to prevent further rioting and property damage.”

Many questions about Walker’s death remain unanswered and an investigation is underway by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, but here’s a rundown of what we know so far.

What the police say happened

Walker was killed in a burst of gunfire last Monday, following a vehicular chase and chase that began when officers tried to stop him for traffic and equipment violations.

Walker fled the stop, according to a narrated video timeline police played at Sunday’s press conference, and officers gave chase.

About 40 seconds after the chase started, the voicemail said, “a sound equivalent to a gunshot” in body-camera images, and officers told dispatch a shot had been fired from Walker’s vehicle. Police also showed still images from traffic cameras showing “a flash of light” – perhaps a muzzle flash – along the driver’s side of the car.

“That changes the whole nature” of the incident, Mylett said, turning a “routine traffic stop” into a “public safety problem.”

After several minutes, Walker’s vehicle slowed and he left the vehicle and ran, police said. Several police officers got out of their patrol cars and chased him, and officers deployed tasers to stop him, police said, but were unsuccessful.

Moments later, police said, Walker “stopped and turned quickly to face the pursuing officers.” Mylett told reporters that officers believed Walker was reaching for his waist and that they “felt that Mr. Walker had turned and gesturing and moving into a firing position,” Mylett said, and officers opened fire and killed him.

Walker was injured 60 times, chief says

A medical examiner’s report found Walker sustained at least 60 wounds from the gunfire, Mylett said Sunday, although the medical examiner is still trying to determine which are entry wounds and which are exit wounds. The BCI will determine exactly how many times Walker was shot, Mylett said.

In the meantime, it remains unclear how many shots have been fired, although Mylett said he expects “that number to be high” based on the videos, in which dozens of gunshots can be heard over seven seconds.

“A lot of shots were fired,” Mylett said.

8 officers on leave

Eight police officers were “directly involved” in the shooting, Mylett said, and all have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, according to department protocol.

According to information released by the city, seven of the eight officers are white and one is black.

The officers are “fully cooperating” with the investigation, the Akron police union said in a statement, adding that the investigation will determine that the officers’ use of force was justified — including the number of shots they fired.

“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 Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7 said in a statement.

What the video shows

Police released 13 videos from police body cameras on Sunday — eight of the officers directly involved in the shooting and five others of officers who were on the scene.

The videos were 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.

Towards the end of the chase, some footage shows the silver car Walker was driving stopping before starting to exit on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

Ohio police officers on paid administrative leave after deadly shooting of Jayland Walker

At least one officer yells, “Show me your hands,” and tells him not to move. The video shows Walker getting back into the car, which slowly moves forward. He is then seen stepping out of the passenger door and running away from the officers.

At least one officer again yells for Walker to show his hands, shows a video. The pursuit on foot lasted several seconds, before a series of gunshots rang out for more than seven seconds.

The videos end right after the shots are fired and don’t show the efforts of police officers to provide medical care, although police say they tried first aid after the shooting.

They were unsuccessful and Walker was pronounced dead on the spot.

Walker was full of life, relative says

Walker’s family wants answers from police officials, their lawyers said in their own news conference on Sunday, but they have also asked that any protests following Walker’s murder remain peaceful to honor his memory.

Walker “had never broken the law a day in his life — no crime of any kind,” said Bobby Dicello, one of the attorneys.

Robert Dejournett, a relative of Walker and a local clergyman, said the 25-year-old was a jolly young man who was adored by all.

“We are God-fearing people who believe in God and we want to illustrate that even in this process,” Dejournett told CNN, “we don’t want riots or anything like that.”

“Personally I want to cry out and be angry,” said the pastor, “but what’s that going to do?”

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