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Protests erupt in Ohio over the police shooting of Jayland Walker

Heated protests that raged late into the night erupted in downtown Akron, Ohio, on Sunday after police released graphic body camera video showing black DoorDash supplier Jayland Walker being shot dozens of times while attempting to flee a traffic stop.

Demonstrations have taken place around Akron since the police shooting of Walker on June 27, but intensified on Sunday after police released the video, with Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan calling it “heartbreaking.” designated.

The video showed police officers in riot gear and with shields confronting protesters, who were heard chanting “Fk the police,” “Justice for Jayland” and “We are done to dying,” News 5 Cleveland reported.

Other videos showed police officers appearing to use a dozen canisters of tear gas to disperse the crowd after someone knocked over barricades around the Akron Justice Center, according to WKYC.

Akron Police in riot gear and carrying shields confronted protesters at the Akron Justice Center Sunday night.
Akron Police in riot gear and carrying shields confronted protesters at the Akron Justice Center Sunday night.
AFP via Getty Images
Tear gas was used after protesters set fire to a dumpster and attempted to move barricades in downtown Akron on Sunday.
Tear gas was used after protesters set fire to a dumpster and attempted to move barricades in downtown Akron on Sunday.
AFP via Getty Images

During the riots, protesters blocked traffic in the Highland Square and West Akron neighborhoods, and someone had set fire to a dumpster and smashed windows from plows used to block roads.

At a news conference held on Sunday to announce the release of the body camera video, authorities admitted Walker, 25, was unarmed when police chased him on foot and killed him with a hail of bullets, but they believed he shot at her earlier from his car and feared he would shoot again.

It’s unclear how many shots were fired by the eight officers involved in the incident, but Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said the number could be more than 90, with the walker suffering at least 60 gunshot wounds — including after he was on the ground a lawyer for his family.

A coroner who arrived at the scene found Walker handcuffed on his back, according to an ME “worksheet” in the case, the Beacon Journal reported. He reportedly had wounds on his face, torso and thigh.

Walker, 25, was shot dead on June 27 after leading police officers into a chase and allegedly firing a shot from his car after a botched traffic stop.
Walker, 25, was shot dead on June 27 after leading police officers into a chase and allegedly firing a shot from his car after a traffic stop.
Graphic body camera video released Sunday showed eight police officers firing dozens of shots at Walker after he exited his vehicle wearing a ski mask (pictured).
Graphic body camera video released Sunday showed eight police officers firing dozens of shots at Walker after he exited his vehicle wearing a ski mask (pictured).
Akron Police Department/AFP via
Police said Walker may have been shot more than 90 times even after he was on the ground.
Police said Walker may have been shot more than 90 times even after he was on the ground.
via REUTERS

Police tried to stop Walker’s car for unspecified traffic and equipment violations last Monday around 12:30pm, but he refused to stop and led officers in a chase.

Police said Walker fired a shot from his car during the pursuit, and a Department of Transportation camera caught what appeared to be muzzle flash from the vehicle.

Mylett said it changed the nature of the case from “a routine traffic delay to a public safety issue.”

Bodycam videos show what happened after the six-minute pursuit. Several screaming officers, guns drawn, approach the slowing car on foot as it rolls over a curb and onto a sidewalk.

Walker in ski mask exits the passenger door and runs to a parking lot. The police chase him for about 10 seconds before officers fire from multiple directions in a burst that lasts 6 or 7 seconds.

Police said they found a handgun, a loaded magazine and a gold ring in Walker's vehicle during a traffic stop.
Police said they found a handgun, a loaded magazine and a gold ring in Walker’s vehicle during a traffic stop.
Akron Police Department/AFP via

At least one officer first tried to use a stun gun, but was unsuccessful, police said.

Mylett said Walker’s actions are difficult to distinguish on the real-time video, but one still appears to show him “going down to his 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 imminent threat of serious damage and believed their actions and the number of shots fired were consistent with theirs training and their protocols are justified. The union said officers were cooperating with the investigation.

Police said 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.

Footage released by the police ends with the officers firing and does not show what happened next. Officers administered first aid, and Walker can be heard still having a pulse, but he was later pronounced dead, Mylett said.

Mylett declined to say Sunday whether the shooting was justified, adding that when a police officer “makes the most critical decision in his or her life” and points a gun at someone and shoots, they “have to “for every shot in the Run a” declare gun.”

A handgun, a loaded magazine and what appeared to be a wedding ring were found on the seat of the car. A case matching the gun was later found in the area where officers believed a shot had come from the vehicle.

Protests have taken place in Akron since Walker's shooting, but intensified after the video was released.
Protests have taken place in Akron since Walker’s shooting, but intensified after the video was released.
AFP via Getty Images
Walker's family called for accountability but also urged the protesters to remain peaceful.
Walker’s family called for accountability but also urged the protesters to remain peaceful.
REUTERS

Attorney General Dave Yost promised a “full, fair and competent investigation” by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and warned that “body-worn camera footage is just one view of the bigger picture.”

The Akron Police Department is conducting a separate internal investigation into whether the officers violated department rules or policies.

The officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, which is normal in such cases.

Seven of the officers are white and one is black, according to the department. Their tenure with the Akron Police Department ranges from one-and-a-half to six years, and none have a history of discipline, substantiated complaints or fatal shootings, sources said.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement Walker’s death was not in self-defense but “was homicide. pointless.”

Walker’s family is demanding accountability, but also peace, their attorneys said. One of the attorneys, Bobby DiCello, called the police shootout excessive and unreasonable and said police handcuffed Walker before attempting to administer first aid.

The NAACP described Walker's murder as "Murder.  pointless."
The NAACP described Walker’s killing as “homicide. pointless.”
REUTERS

“How this came about with a chase is beyond me,” DiCello said.

He said Walker’s family didn’t know why he fled the police. Walker was grieving the recent death of his fiancée, but his family had shown no further concern and he was not a criminal, DiCello said.

“They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun,” DiCello said. “I’m asking you while he’s running away, what’s reasonable? To shoot him down? No, that is not reasonable.”

The attorney added, “I hope we remember that Jayland was unarmed when he ran across that parking lot.”

With post wires

https://nypost.com/2022/07/04/protests-erupt-in-ohio-over-police-shooting-of-jayland-walker/ Protests erupt in Ohio over the police shooting of Jayland Walker

JACLYN DIAZ

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