When a coroner arrived to examine Jayland Walker’s body, he was handcuffed and lying on his back. Reports show he was shot multiple times – in the face, abdomen and thighs – during a chase with officers from the Akron Police Department.
The 25-year-old man became the third person killed by police in Akron, Ohio, in six months. The coroner ruled his death on June 27 was manslaughter.
Demonstrators blocked roads and the Fourth of July celebrations were cancelled. The city braces itself for violence. Walker’s family and his attorney say the police reports of the fatal shooting are inconsistent. They demand peaceful protest and full transparency.
“We loved Jayland. He was my skinny little nephew and we miss him. We just want some answers,” Jayland’s aunt, Lajuana Walker Dawkins, said.
Police said they tried to stop Walker for traffic and equipment violations just after midnight. He refused to stop and opened fire on officers as they chased him down East Tallmadge Avenue towards State Route 8 for 4 minutes and 30 seconds at up to about 80 miles per hour, they said.
Bobby DiCello, an attorney for Walker’s family, denies claims that the man was in a high-speed chase with officers.
“It was a chase. And the difference is pretty big, because a pursuit means they followed him around the speed limit, not at excessive speeds,” DiCello told the Atlanta Black Star. “So he didn’t do 80 in 35 or 100 in 65, for example. There was no such thing.”
Authorities say a gun was recovered from Walker’s vehicle. 3News reports that one case was also found in the car and a second one on the pavement. DiCello said Walker did not have a firearm during the encounter with police. He could not “confirm or deny” whether the man had a gun in his car.
“He didn’t have a gun on him or near him,” DiCello said. “Nothing by his side. Nothing on the floor.”
Akron police officers fired more than 90 shots. About 60 wounds were identified on the young black man’s body.
“We need to understand why a traffic violation, a device violation, turned into a car chase. Why a transit violation turned into a loss of life,” said Judy Hill, president of the Akron chapter of the NAACP.
Traffic camera video obtained by the Beacon Journal reportedly shows up to 10 squad cars simultaneously pursuing Walker. Police said he created a “deadly threat” by jumping out of the vehicle while it was still rolling.
Police say they initially tried to scare Walker off with stun guns but used firearms after they said he made moves that reportedly led them to fear physical harm.
“The suspect’s actions made officers realize he posed a deadly threat to them. In response to the threat, officers fired their guns and beat the suspect,” police officials said.
A number of officers were placed under the administration. The police department has released body-worn camera footage of the incident, but city officials said it would be released “in the coming days” along with additional information.
“Tragically, we are once again confronted with a young man whose life took place before him too soon,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Commissioner Steve Mylett said in a joint statement. “Every single life is precious, and the loss of every life is absolutely devastating to our entire community.”
“Our prayers are with Jayland Walker’s family and we extend our sincere condolences to all who knew him. Our thoughts are also with our Akron officers and their families.”
DiCello said Walker has never been in trouble with the law. He received a speeding ticket in his life and was employed as a delivery driver by Door Dash at the time of his death.
“We don’t want people to burn things down. We don’t want people breaking windows. We don’t want violent protests,” DiCello said. “It’s about peace, dignity and justice.”
Walker’s mother, Pamela, said she was stunned by his violent death. She described Walker as a family man who enjoyed having Sunday dinners with her and his sister Jada. Walker’s father, Edward Pete Walker, died in 2018. Walker lost his fiancée in a traffic accident last month. However, he has shown no “signs of despair,” the attorney said.
The Walker family were charter members of St Ashworth Temple Church of God In Christ, where his funeral service will be held.
“I’m sick as a mom that it’s come to this,” she said. “If they had spent five minutes with him, it would never have ended like this.”
https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/07/02/up-to-10-patrol-cars-more-than-90-shots-fired-because-akron-police-perceived-25-year-old-jayland-walker-posed-a-deadly-threat-during-brief-car-chase-leaving-a-community-ready-to-erupt/ Up to 10 squad cars, more than 90 shots fired as Akron police believed 25-year-old Jayland Walker posed a “deadly threat” during a brief chase and set a community ready to break out