Akron, Ohio – A Black man was shot dead by Akron police officers after pursuing a vehicle and was unarmed at the time of the shooting, but a shot appeared to have been fired. emerged from the vehicle during the pursuit, and officers said they feared he was preparing to open fire when they discharged his weapon, authorities said.
Police on Sunday video release what the mayor called “heartbreaking” about the pursuit and shooting death of Jayland Walker, 25, while pleading for peace and patience from the community while the state’s investigation into the shooting continued. .
Police Chief Steve Mylett said officers tried to stop Walker’s vehicle for an unidentified device and traffic violation, but less than a minute into the pursuit, the sound of a shot was heard coming from the area. The vehicle and the transport department’s camera captured what appeared to be a flash of light from the muzzle. vehicle. Mylett said that changed the nature of the incident from “a regular stopover to a public safety issue.”
Police said a few minutes later, the vehicle slowed down and Walker emerged from the moving vehicle, donned a ski mask, and fled. A handgun, a loaded magazine and a wedding ring were found on the seat and a sheath matching the weapon was later found at the point where officers believe a shot was fired. from the car.
After an unsuccessful attempt to use the stun device, the foot chase continued to a parking lot, at which point a volley of bullets could be heard. Mylett said he’d watched the video dozens of times and Walker’s actions at the time were hard to tell apart, but one still image appeared to show him “going down to his waistline” and another appeared now shows him turning towards an officer and a third. the photo “records the forward movement of his arm.”
After the shooting occurred, the officers who opened fire were kept apart and watched, and investigators arrived to lead them one by one through the scene, Myett said.
“Each officer was independent of the other in relation to the other that they felt that Mr. Walker had turned and was gesturing and moving into firing position,” he said.
Mylett said an officer who shoots someone has to be “ready to explain why they did what they did, they need to be able to articulate what specific threats they are facing. .. and they need to be held accountable.” But he said he was withholding judgment on their actions until they released their statement, and he said the union president had told him they were all “fully cooperating” with the meeting. investigate.
Police said more than 60 injuries were found on the body but further investigation will be needed to determine exactly how many bullets the eight officers fired and how many times Walker was hit. Officers assisted and could hear one person say he still had a pulse, but he died at the scene, Mylett said.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost vowed to conduct a “complete, fair and expert investigation” and warned that “body-worn camera footage is just one view of the whole picture – before when drawing a conclusion, a full review must be carried out.”
The officers involved in the shooting were given paid administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases.
One of the family’s attorneys, Bobby DiCello, said gunfire from police occurred even as Walker lay on the ground, and police handcuffed him before attempting to provide first aid.
“How it came to this with a chase is beyond my control,” DiCello said, adding that Walker’s family has no idea why he was on the run from police. Walker is grieving the recent death of his fiancée, but his family shows no signs of worrying about it, DiCello said.
“He was very upset, but he got through it,” DiCello said. He said he did not know if the ring found near the gun belonged to Walker.
Walker’s family is calling for accountability, but also for peace.
“Anger is okay. Anger is understandable. Violence is not. Let’s uphold the dignity of Jayland’s life as we peacefully demand justice,” Walker’s family said in a statement. a statement to CBS News.
The Akron NAACP planned to hold a “community peace rally” at Akron’s town hall on Sunday in memory of Walker.