Akron police officials expect more patience and consideration than officers gave 25-year-old Jayland Walker when he was shot and killed early Monday morning. Akron Police officers killed Walker earlier this week, in yet another incident that demonstrates community concerns about policing are about a lot more than “rebuilding trust.”
Per local news reports, Akron Police Officers shot at Walker over 90 times, with at least 60 bullets striking him after allegedly fleeing from an attempted traffic stop. From initial reports, there is no evidence he had a gun on him at the time he was killed.
Walker’s family and their lawyer Bobby DiCello spoke during a press conference Thursday. The lawyer for the family stressed that Walker was never an offender and had always been a “law-abiding citizen.”
“How these events took place leaves us with many many many questions,” DiCello said. “Our job, by doing this press conference, is to remind the police department for the city of Akron that we are here for accountability. We’re also here to uphold the dignity of this man. Not to vilify him. Not turn him into someone he was never intended to be. What we’re not going to let the media or the newspapers or the police define who he was. His family’s here to tell you who he was, and he was a wonderful young man.”
DiCello said the family demanded answers, but as of Thursday had not met the chief of police or seen the video. Walker’s aunt Lajuana Walker Dawkins also spoke during the conference sharing fond memories of her “skinny little nephew.”
“Jayland was a sweet young man, he never caused any trouble,” Dawkins said. “We don’t what happened. And we’d like to know…we just want what is right to be righted.”
And while the family stressed the need for peace, community members distressed by the egregious actions by Akron police officers have taken to the streets demanding justice. Actions Thursday led the city to barricade the area near the police headquarters in anticipation of further protests.
The city also canceled its “Rib, White and Blue” celebration set to begin Friday. Akron’s mayor felt it wasn’t the right time for the city to be celebrating. But the city’s fireworks display was still set for Monday night.
The Akron Beacon Journal described shots hitting Walker in the face, arms, legs and abdomen. The outlet also shared a note from the medical examiner’s report that Walker was handcuffed after being shot.
According to CNN, an “unknown number” of Akron police officers were placed on administrative leave. Officers have claimed that alleged a gun was fired at them from the vehicle but there was no gun found on Jayland’s person after he was shot. As news of Jayland Walker’s killing spread, many have questioned the account from officers claiming the shooting was necessary due to the alleged threat of bodily harm.
City officials are scheduled to hold a press conference Sunday, July 3 at 1 p.m. Video footage of the incident is expected to be released shortly thereafter.