Outrage after video shows Ohio officers killed unarmed black man in hail of bullets
The city of Akron, Ohio declared a state of emergency on Monday, setting a curfew and canceling Independence Day fireworks, after protests over the police killing of an unarmed black man became unruly Sunday night.
The protests erupted after police released body camera video showing eight officers shooting 25-year-old Jayland Walker as he fled a traffic stop last week. Walker’s body was discovered to have about 60 gunshot wounds.
Sunday’s daytime protests were peaceful but, despite pleas from the Walker family for the protests to remain peaceful, Akron police declared an unlawful assembly once property was damaged. Officers in riot gear fired a dozen canisters of tear gas to disperse protesters, WKYC-TV said.
DISCLAIMER: GRAPHIC CONTENT
“The video you’re about to watch is heartbreaking. And it’s hard to take in. That’s how the mayor of Akron, Ohio described a video showing eight police officers as they opened set fire to and killed Jayland Walker, an unarmed black man. pic.twitter.com/WpDgM8d2m7
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 4, 2022
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said a curfew for downtown Akron was in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice, and two fireworks from the 4th of July have also been cancelled.
“There was extensive property damage in downtown Akron. Small businesses on Main Street had their windows smashed. We cannot and will not tolerate destruction of property or violence,” said Horrigan in a statement.
The shooting of Jayland Walker marks the latest in a string of police killings of unarmed black men, raising questions about police use of force and equal justice for African Americans, and contributing to further polarization in the United States.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates told Reuters that the Justice Department, including the Civil Rights Division and the FBI’s Akron field office, were closely monitoring and assessing the situation surrounding the death of Walker.
“These images are disturbing,” Bates said. “And no family should ever have to endure the horrific pain and loss of a loved one that the Walker family is experiencing at this time.”
Police say Walker had a gun in his car but left it in the front seat as he fled on foot. Officers believed he fired a bullet from inside the car before fleeing, police said, and that Walker was ‘getting into a firing position’ when he got out of his car, prompting them to react to him as a potential threat, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said.
“FAIR” INQUIRY WISH
The mayor hailed the peaceful protests, led by the Akron chapter of the NAACP. Hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of the city of around 200,000 people, waving “Black Lives Matter” flags and chanting “We’re done dying” and “Justice for Jayland”.
Horrigan said the problems started after dark, a trend that was seen in the turbulent summer of 2020 when protests spread across the United States over the death of George Floyd. , a black man who died when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. The officers were later convicted of a variety of charges, including murder and civil rights violations in the Floyd case.
On Sunday, Walker family lawyer Bobby DiCello told reporters he was “very concerned” about the police accusation that Walker had shot officers from his car, adding that there was no justification for his violent death.
“I ask you, as he runs away, what’s reasonable? To shoot him? No, it’s not reasonable,” DiCello said.
The Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations are investigating and the case will be released to the public at the end of the case, Attorney General Dave Yost said Sunday.
“People want and deserve answers, and they will get them. BCI will conduct a full, fair and expert investigation,” Yost said in a statement.
The eight officers directly involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, the Akron police chief said.