Violent protests erupted in downtown Akron, Ohio on Sunday after police released graphic body camera video showing black DoorDash delivery driver Jayland Walker being shot dozens of times while was trying to flee from a traffic stop.
Protests have been taking place around Akron since the June 27 police shooting of Walker, but escalated on Sunday after police released the video, with Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan calling it ” heartbreaking”.
Video captured cops dressed in riot gear and carrying shields facing protesters, who could be heard chanting “F–k the police”, “Justice for Jayland” and “We over done die” , reported News 5 Cleveland.
Other videos showed police deploying what appeared to be a dozen tear gas canisters in an attempt to disperse crowds after someone knocked down barricades around the Akron Justice Center, according to WKYC.
During the unrest, protesters blocked traffic in the Highland Square and West Akron sections of the city, and someone had set fire to a dumpster and smashed the windows of plows used to close streets.
At a press conference on Sunday to announce the release of the body camera video, authorities admitted Walker, 25, was unarmed when cops chased him on foot and killed him with a barrage of bullets, but they thought he had shot them. earlier from his car and was afraid to shoot again.
It’s unclear how many shots the eight officers involved in the incident fired, but Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said the number could be over 90, with the Walker suffering at least 60 gunshot wounds – including after being on the ground, according to a lawyer for his family.
A medical examiner who arrived at the scene found Walker handcuffed on his back, according to an ME “worksheet” in the case, the Beacon Journal reported. He was reportedly injured in the face, chest and upper leg.
Police attempted to stop Walker’s car around 12.30pm last Monday for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but he refused to stop, leading officers to a chase.
Police say Walker fired from his car during the chase and a Transportation Department camera captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash from the vehicle.
Mylett said it changed the nature of the case “from a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue.”
Body camera footage shows what happened after the approximately six-minute chase. Several officers shouting with guns approach the slowing car on foot, as it rolls over a curb and over a curb.
Walker wearing a ski mask comes out of the passenger door and runs to a parking lot. Police chase him for about 10 seconds before officers fire in multiple directions, in a flurry of gunfire that lasts 6 or 7 seconds.
At least one officer had first tried using a stun gun but was unsuccessful, police said.
Mylett said Walker’s actions are hard to make out on live video, but one still photo appears to show him “dropping to the waist” and another appears to show him turning to an officer. He said a third image “captures a forward movement of his arm.”
In a statement shared with reporters on Sunday, the local police union said officers believed there was an immediate threat of serious injury and believed their actions and the number of shots would be deemed justified. according to their training and protocols. The union said officers were cooperating with the investigation.
Police say more than 60 wounds were found on Walker’s body, but further investigation is needed to determine exactly how many shots officers fired and how many times Walker was hit.
The footage released by the police ends with the officers firing shots and does not show what happened next. Officers provided first aid, and Walker was heard to still have a pulse, but he was later pronounced dead, Mylett said.
Mylett declined to say Sunday whether the shooting was justified and added that when a cop “makes the most critical decision of his life” and points a gun at someone and shoots, he has to explain “for every shot in the barrel of a gun.”
A handgun, a loaded magazine and an apparent wedding ring were found on the car seat. A casing compatible with the weapon was later found in the area where officers believed a gunshot had come from the vehicle.
State Attorney General Dave Yost promised a “full, fair and expert investigation” by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and warned that “body-worn camera footage is not than a view of the whole picture”.
Akron police are conducting a separate internal investigation into whether officers violated department rules or policies.
The officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases.
Seven of the cops are white and one black, according to the department. Their tenure with the Akron police ranges from a year and a half to six years, and none of them have a record of discipline, substantiated complaints or fatal shootings, he said.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement that Walker’s death was not self-defense, but “was murder.” Point blank.”
Walker’s family are calling for accountability but also for peace, their lawyers said. One of the lawyers, Bobby DiCello, called the police flurry of gunfire excessive and unreasonable, and said police handcuffed Walker before trying to administer first aid.
“How it came to this with a lawsuit is beyond me,” DiCello said.
He said Walker’s family did not know why he fled from the police. Walker was mourning the recent death of his fiancée, but his family had no indication of concern beyond that, and he was not a criminal, DiCello said.
“They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun,” DiCello said. “I ask you, as he flees, what is reasonable? To shoot him down? No, that’s not reasonable.
The lawyer added: “I hope we will remember that when Jayland drove through that parking lot he was unarmed.”
With pole wires
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