AKRON, Ohio – Authorities on Sunday released “heartbreaking” video of the fatal shooting of black motorcyclist Jayland Walker in a hail of bullets minutes after Akron police said he had died. ran away from a traffic stop last week.
Eight officers directly involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave and the city canceled the four-day festival on July 4 as stunned residents and city leaders await the results of the investigation. about Walker’s death.
Videos released on Sunday showed officers converging on Walker’s silver Buick at the end of a chase. Walker appeared to exit the vehicle in a ski mask, and Sheriff Stephen Mylett said it appeared Walker reached toward his waist during a foot chase and quickly turned toward the vehicles. officer. They opened fire.
Mylett said medical examiners found about 60 wounds on Walker’s body, though the exact number of shots fired has yet to be determined.
The sheriff said that when the shooting stopped, officers immediately tried to care for Walker, but he died at the scene. The Ohio Department of Criminal Investigation is conducting an investigation at the request of Akron police.
WHAT WE KNOW:Deadly Akron cop shoots Jayland Walker
Hundreds of people gathered Sunday afternoon downtown for a rally organized by the Akron chapter of the NAACP. Many carried homemade placards and chanted “No more dying” as they marched towards City Hall. Black lawmakers, including city and state representatives, spoke to an estimated crowd of 1,000.
Mayor Daniel Horrigan pleaded for calm and patience while the investigation was ongoing. Horrigan said: “The video is so heartbreaking, it’s hard to take in.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson released a statement saying the officers involved were held accountable.
“This is not self-defense, it is not an accident in the heat of the moment, it is a murder. Just leave it blank,” Johnson said. This black man was killed – shot more than 60 times by 90 bullets – for a possible traffic violation. This doesn’t happen to white people in America. “
Did Jayland Walker shoot a cop?
The video shows a gun in the front seat of Walker’s car, and Mylett said the video appeared to show the light of a gun from the vehicle during the chase. But he appeared to be unarmed when he got out of the vehicle and ran away from police, the sheriff said.
At a news conference on Sunday, Mylett was asked if officers were overreacting to the perceived threat.
“It’s hard to watch and shocking,” Mylett said, adding that “I won’t execute the sentence” until the investigation is complete. But he said that when an officer “makes the most important decision of his life” to point a gun at someone, they must not only be willing to explain the shooting, but also have to explain “for each downfall.” gun barrel.”
‘HE’S GET OUT, CHANNELED’:Akron leaders condemn shooting death of Jayland Walker
Mylett praised the Walker family for their call for peaceful protest.
The police department said it was release all scenes about Monday’s footage, rather than just the videos required by law within a week, after first showing the footage to Walker’s family.
Ministry of Justice supervised shooting
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office said Walker died of multiple gunshot wounds and ruled it a homicide. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI field office in Akron are “closely monitoring and reviewing the circumstances” surrounding Walker’s death, the Justice Department said in a statement. Father.
“The FBI continues to work with state and local partners to provide resources and expertise,” the statement added. “If evidence indicates a potential violation of federal criminal statute, the Department of Justice will take appropriate action.”
Bobby DiCello, an attorney for the Walker family, called the video “brutal”.
“It’s going to spark some passion. It’s going to make people uncomfortable,” DiCello said before releasing the video.
Police said Walker, a 25-year-old DoorDash driver, refused to stop and shot at officers during a chase. Officers at the scene said Walker jumped out of his wheelchair and posed a “death threat”, prompting officers to use a stun gun, but failed, and then is a gun.
Walker was discovered lying on his back in handcuffs when a medical examiner arrived on the scene, according to a case investigation sheet posted to Beacon Magazine at the medical examiner’s office. Walker was shot in the face, stomach and shins, the report said, adding that a weapon was recovered from his vehicle.
Traffic camera video obtained by the Beacon Journal, part of the US TODAY Network, shows at least 10 police cruisers pursuing Walker’s vehicle at one point during the chase.
Is the pursuit justifiable?
Mylett said the police response changed when they believed Walker was opening fire. That, he said, has transformed the situation from “being a regular traffic stop into a public safety issue”.
Mike Lawlor, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven, says the video raises more questions than it answers.
“So if this starts out as an obvious equipment violation, which usually means like a faulty tail light or no light on the license plate, something like that, that would never justify for a chase almost anywhere in the country,” he said. “The question of whether anyone will be charged is: do they reasonably believe someone’s life was in danger at the time?”
Lawlor noted that officers first used stun guns, which would not be used if officers believed their lives were in danger, he said.
CASE OF JAYLAND WALKING:Akron police union believes officers ‘get fair’ in shooting
“It’s the kind of things that make this seem like a prime example of an unnecessary pursuit, the use of deadly force being unnecessary,” he said.
Akron’s chapter of the Brotherhood Police Order said in a statement Sunday the independent investigation would prove the actions, including the number of shots fired by the officers, were justifiable. The FOP said officers were aware of Walker fleeing a traffic stop the previous morning in New Franklin and said he had failed to “obey a lawful stop order” in Akron.
“This incident is a tragedy for our entire community, including Jayland Walker’s family, as well as all the officers involved,” the statement said.
The city canceled the Rib, White and Blue Festival that was scheduled to open Friday and run through July 4.
“I fully understand that some residents and visitors will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this weekend,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a statement. celebration.”
Policy experts say more questions come from video
Policy experts say video of deadly shooting generates more questions than early answers.
Two police and criminal justice experts told USA TODAY that their videos ultimately failed to provide sufficient clarity about key moments in the shooting, including what led police to switch from using special forces to deadly force and what led to the police shooting when Walker, who was unarmed when he was shot, according to Mylett.
Video doesn’t show what caused officers to fire weapons, expert says
“I understand that he made a pose that showed he was willing to shoot at police officers and that was what caused them to use lethal force,” said Keith Taylor, assistant professor in the Faculty of Law. , Police Science, and Criminal Justice at John Jay College, told USA TODAY. “I don’t see that. And I’m sure that will be very important in this investigation.”
According to Mike Lawlor, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven, the video may not be clear enough to determine whether Walker poses a risk to others, including police, during a pursuit. are not.
“The question of whether anyone will be charged is: do they reasonably believe someone’s life was at stake at the time?” Lawlor told USA TODAY. Read more here.
Contributing: Cady Stanton, Christine Fernando and Claire Thornton, USA TODAY; Tawney Beans and Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal