Akron police shot or grazed Jayland Walk 46 times, autopsy shows

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A black man was shot nearly four dozen times by police officers in Akron, Ohio, after they tried to stop him for a traffic violation, according to autopsy results released Friday.

Jayland Walker, 25, was killed in late June by Akron Police who said he fired a gun during a chase. Eight police officers, seven of whom were white, fired a hail of bullets after the pursuit when Walker was unarmed.

His death has sparked outrage in the Akron community and across the country, prompting calls for justice and further investigation into police use of force against black people.

In a news conference Friday, Summit County Coroner Lisa Kohler said Walker had 46 gunshot or graze wounds, including 15 exit wounds and five grazes.

His death was ruled a “homicide, shot by others” by the coroner’s office, but the verdict is not a legal conclusion.

Attorneys representing the Walker family said the autopsy report “confirms the violent and unnecessary use of force by the Akron Police Department.”

“The fact that officers still handcuffed him after nearly four dozen beatings while he lay motionless and bleeding on the ground is absolutely inhuman,” the statement said. “The family is devastated by the findings of the report and is still awaiting a public apology from the police.”

Police said they pursued Walker’s Buick after he failed to stop due to a equipment and unspecified traffic violation. An officer said he heard a shot from the Buick before Walker jumped out of the car and ran into a parking lot, followed by officers – and eventually fired.

During a July 3 news conference, police released body camera footage and said they found a handgun and a loaded magazine in Walker’s car.

On Friday, Kohler said Walker’s hands were not tested for gunshot residue during the autopsy, a practice the bureau stopped in 2016. While the test can detect gunshot residue, it can’t be used as an absolute judgment as to whether a person has fired a gun, Kohler said, because the particles it detects can be easily removed.

The autopsy revealed evidence of medical intervention, including tourniquets, gauze bandages, adhesive seals, and defibrillator pads, Kohler said. She also said Walker’s toxicology screen for alcohol and substance abuse was negative.

When the footage was released, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said officers provided first aid after the shooting ended. That same day, Bobby DiCello, an attorney representing the Walker family, said life-saving efforts were a “hopeless task” after dozens of gunshots.

The final autopsy report will be turned over to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), officials said Friday. The BCI investigation is independent of the police department.

After the investigation is complete, the attorney general’s office will review the case and submit it to a Summit County grand jury to determine whether the officers involved in the shooting should be prosecuted, police said.

The eight officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the BCI investigation and an internal investigation by the Akron Police Office of Professional Standards and Accountability.

Demonstrators have been protesting in Akron alongside the Walker family for weeks, demanding change. City officials have canceled Fourth of July celebrations, imposed curfews and called for peaceful demonstrations.

On Wednesday, hundreds attended Walker’s funeral in a citywide day of mourning for him.

During the service, Rev. Robert DeJournett, a cousin of Walker, gave the names of more than 10 black people killed by police. The list ended with Walker.

“We can be aware of that [God’s] will and will continue to seek justice for Jayland Walker and everyone else,” DeJournett said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/07/15/jayland-walker-autopsy-akron-shooting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_national Akron police shot or grazed Jayland Walk 46 times, autopsy shows

James Brien

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