Akron shooting: Jayland Walker was unarmed when 8 Ohio officers opened fire on him, bodycam video shows

AKRON, Ohio — Ohio police officers released body camera footage of a 25-year-old black man who was killed in a hail of bullets fired by eight officers while he was unarmed and running away.

When Jayland Walker’s family demanded answers about the circumstances of the murder last week, which authorities say took place after a police chase, large protests erupted in Akron, Ohio, with protesters marching on the city’s police headquarters.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett joined the Walker family during a news conference Sunday afternoon, calling for peaceful protests and patience while the investigation into the man’s death continues.

“When an officer makes the most critical decision in his or her life as a police officer, it doesn’t matter where in the country it occurs, when they make that most critical decision to point their firearm at another human being and pull the trigger, they must.” be willing to explain why they did what they did,” Mylett said Sunday. “They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they faced, and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun.”

Mylett began the press conference by expressing his “deepest condolences” to Jayland’s family and apologizing for their loss.

“I can’t imagine the loss, the pain they’re going through right now,” Mylett. “I would like to personally thank you for the way you handled this situation. They asked for peace in an environment marked by aggression and violence.”

Akron Police officers said the fatal incident occurred around 12:30 a.m. on June 27 in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood when officers attempted to pull over Walker’s car for a traffic violation and equipment violation. Police said the driver allegedly refused to stop, sparking a chase that ended in his death.

Police officers played footage from two body camera police videos, the first of which shows police pursuing Walker’s silver Buick on Route 8 in Akron.

The video showed the Buick taking a ramp and a flash of what Mylett said appeared to be the muzzle flash of a gun coming from the driver’s side of Walker’s car. Police officers also released still images of the flash coming out of the vehicle’s window.

A second body camera video recorded officers who radioed that they heard at least one shot fired from Walker’s car. Video also shows the officer following the Buick off Route 8 and continuing the pursuit down side streets.

At one point, Walker slowed and jumped out of the vehicle before it came to a complete stop. Footage showed a man, who police said was Walker, exiting the car’s passenger door wearing a ski mask.

Several officers can be seen in the footage running after Walker, who appeared to be looking over his shoulder as officers fired their guns at him.

Mylett said he’s watched the video at least 40 times and said photos still exist showing Walker appearing to grab his waistband, turn to face the officer and move an arm forward.

Mylett said Walker’s face and body were blurred in the video, which was shown to the public at the request of the Walker family.

The boss said he reserved further comment on the video until the Ohio Bureau of Investigation completes its investigation.

Despite the shooting a week ago, Mylett said none of the officers were questioned by investigators. The chief said he was assured by the police union president that all officers involved in the shooting would fully cooperate.

In an earlier police statement, officers said the suspect’s “actions made officers realize he posed a deadly threat to them.” In response to this threat, officers fired their firearms and beat the suspect,” Akron Police said in a statement.

After the press conference, Bobby DiCello, an attorney for Walker’s family, said the key fact in the case that Mylett confirmed was that Walker was unarmed when he was killed.

Mylett said that while the video confirmed Walker was unarmed when he was shot, he said the footage also included a handgun with a separate loaded magazine and what appeared to be a gold wedding ring in the driver’s seat of Walker’s car.

DiCello said the video showed Walker posed no threat to officers as they fired more than 60 shots.

“You can see his hands as he walks on the video,” DiCello told ABC News’ Good Morning America after watching the video before it was released.

ABC News has not seen the body camera footage or verified its contents.

He said the first two Akron officers who engaged Walker used their stun guns. Mylett confirms officers used their tasers, but they had no effect.

“Why do eight men shoot at him, mostly from behind, when he runs away?” DiCello told GMA the troubling list of questions he has about the shooting.

DiCello said he saw no evidence in the video he reviewed that Walker posed a threat to officers.

“He just sprints away from these men and gets shot when he turns and looks over his shoulder,” DiCello said.

“We’d like to know why he was shot like a dog,” Walker’s aunt, LaJuana Dawkins, told GMA.

“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,” Akron Police said in a statement.

Officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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https://abc13.com/jayland-walker-ohio-akron-police/12014790/ Akron shooting: Jayland Walker was unarmed when 8 Ohio officers opened fire on him, bodycam video shows

Dais Johnston

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