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Body Camera Footage Shows 8 Ohio Police Officers Open Fire on An Unarmed Jayland Walker

By: Benjamin He

On the night of June 27, in the city of Akron, Ohio, approximately half after midnight, Jayland Walker was completely unarmed and attempting to run away when 8 police officers decided to send around 90 bullets at him. Jayland Walker was killed in the chase.

Jayland Walker was a Black man aged 25. After the shooting, Walker’s family demanded to know what could’ve possibly provoked the officers to shoot, and authorities responded that the event occurred following a police chase, and protests have broken out all over the city. Some protesters have also begun to march on the police headquarters.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., which will continue to be in effect until “another order is issued.” Besides the curfew, the city’s 4th of July celebration also was canceled.

“Early yesterday, we had several peaceful protests in the downtown footprint related to the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker. These protests did not escalate to violence and destruction," said Mayor Horrigan. "However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful. There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron ... we cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence."

In a news conference, Mayor Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett joined together in calling for patience over the investigation into Walker’s death.

"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 this happens, when they make that most critical decision to point their firearm at another human being and pull the trigger, they've got to be ready to explain why they did what they did," Mylett said. "They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing, and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun."

The police chief began the conference by expressing his sympathy for Walker’s family.

"I cannot imagine the sense of loss, the pain they are going through right now," Police Chief Mylett said. "I want to personally thank you for the way in which you have been dealing with this situation. You have asked for peace in an environment that is rife for aggression and violence. If Jayland reflects the character of this family, which I continually heard that he did, you raised a good son."

Before the footage of the shooting was shown, Mr. Horrigan claimed that he was “beyond outraged” at the situation. He warned reporters who were about to watch the footage that it was “heartbreaking.”

Police officials in Akron stated that the incident occurred around 12:30 a.m., while some police officers were trying to pull Walker over for a traffic violation and an equipment violation with his car. The police claimed that he refused to pull over, and the police chase eventually ended with the police shooting him.

The officials played the footage from two body cameras. One video showed the police chasing a Buick onto Route 8 in Akron.

The footage revealed that the Buick had taken an onramp and a flash of light appeared from the driver’s side of Walker’s car, supposedly the muzzle flash of a gun, according to Mylett.

The second body camera video showed that officers had radioed that they heard one shot fired from Walker’s car, and after that, they exited Route 8 and continued the pursuit on side streets.

At some point, a man wearing a ski mask whom police claimed was Walker exited the car's passenger side door before the car came to a full stop.

Officers are seen running after Walker who looked over his shoulder while the police fired their guns at him.

Mylett said he had watched the video at least three dozen times but he still saw photos of Walker reaching for his waistband then running at the officers and moving his arm forward.

In an earlier statement, Akron police officials said, the "actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them. In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect."

Despite the shooting taking place so long ago, Mylett disclosed that none of the officers had been interviewed by investigators. The chief said that the police union president had promised him that his officers would all cooperate.

The body camera videos were released because of a city law passed last year that required police body-camera footage to be made public seven days after an officer's use of force resulted in death or great bodily injury.

The first two officers to reach Walker used their stun guns, which Mylett confirmed were Tasers, but they didn’t do anything.

“Any officers who fire 90 rounds at a Black man, for an alleged traffic violation, should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," Derrick Johnson, the president of the civil rights organization NAACP said. "This wasn't self-defense, it wasn't an accident in the heat of the moment, it was murder.”

Link: https://abcnews.go.com/US/black-man-unarmed-ohio-officers-opened-fire-family/story?id=86149929

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