Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some very sad and unfortunate tea to bring to you all this evening. This involves the very unfortunate and tragic murder of an unarmed Black man at the hands of the police.
A 25-year-old Black man by the name of Jayland Walker was killed last week by police officers in Akron, Ohio, suffered more than 60 gunshot wounds. He was unarmed at the time, the police chief said Sunday.
That detail was among the facts that began to emerge in the killing of Walker, who died last Monday after fleeing the police during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop. At a news conference on Sunday, the police released body camera videos of the pursuit and shooting that showed officers actions but deepened many questions around his death, which remains under investigation.
Walker had one traffic ticket and no criminal record. The police said they initially sought to pull him over for an equipment violation and a traffic violation. According to the NYT; Eight officers who were directly involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave according to department policy.
The department released the video camera footage and following the release of the videos, hundreds of protesters marched in downtown Akron, demanding justice for Walker and decrying police violence, as Walker’s family urged the community to remain peaceful. The police said during a news conference that a handgun was later found in Walker’s car and that a bullet casing was found where they said he fired and that it was consistent with the weapon found in Walker’s vehicle. A still photo released by the police showed a handgun on the seat, along with a gold ring.
As the chase continued it lasted more than seven minutes the footage shows an officer saying that Walker’s car is slowing down. (Walker’s car had reached speeds of more than 50 miles per hour at times going through residential neighborhoods.) Seconds later, Walker, wearing a ski mask, exits the vehicle and begins to flee on foot. The chase was brief, and footage appears to show a number of officers pursuing Walker, weapons drawn, into a nearby parking lot while shouting at him. Police officers had initially deployed Tasers but were unsuccessful, the police said. A few seconds later, the officers open fire, and Walker drops to the ground.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an inquiry and, after that is complete, the case will be turned over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for review. The decision of whether to charge the officers involved with a crime will be determined by prosecutors, but charges have rarely been filed in similar cases of shootings involving the police. If a gun was fired during the chase, that fact could weigh heavily on the decision of whether to prosecute, and it could provide a measure of credibility to officers’ claims that they were in danger.
Stephen Mylett, the Akron police chief, said he wasn’t sure how many total shots had been fired at Walker. He could not confirm the exact number of bullets that struck him (though he cited the wounds reported by the medical examiner), but he anticipated the number would be “very high.”
Chief Mylett said the officers contended that Mr. Walker had quickly turned toward officers and made a motion toward his “waist area.” The chief confirmed that Walker was unarmed after fleeing his car, however.
Bobby DiCello, a lawyer for the Walker family, said Walker had only recently obtained the gun. “Jayland was not familiar with firearms, and we do not know if it accidentally fired,” he said. “But police did find no bullets in the handgun when they found it in the car after his death.” DiCello criticized how the police portrayed Walker in the news conference. “They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun,” he said. The family’s lawyers also questioned the city’s release of only parts of the videos at the news conference and urged that it release all of the video.
The release of the video on Sunday raised tensions that were already high in Akron because of the shooting. The Walker family urged the city not to resort to violence.
“If you can do anything for the family, please give peace, give dignity and give justice a chance for Jayland,” DiCello said on Sunday. “My clients are private people. Jayland was a private kid. He wasn’t married. He wasn’t a criminal. He obviously was in pain. He didn’t deserve to die.”
Sources: New York Times. The Washington Post.
Written by Dream Nicole and Published by Dream Nicole.