Jayland Walker, 25, was stopped at a traffic stop on June 27. When the man fled on foot, at least eight police officers chased after him. According to a statement issued by the officers, they are convinced that Walker shot them from the car and fear he will shoot them again, authorities said at a news conference on Sunday.
It’s unclear exactly how many shots were fired during the chase, but Walker was hit by more than 60 shots. According to the Walker family’s lawyer, the officers continued to shoot even after he was already on the ground. Police later found a firearm in the man’s car, but it was not yet clear if it had also been used.
The mayor described the shooting as “heartbreaking” and asked the community to remain calm. The Akron Police Department is conducting a separate internal investigation to find out whether the officers violated department rules or policies.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave pending investigation, which is typical in such cases. Seven of them 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.
Protesters gathered outside Akron Courthouse on Sunday after the video was posted. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Derek Johnson said in a statement that Walker’s death “was not in self-defence, but rather a murder.” The Walker family said they wanted justice, but they also demanded peace. One lawyer, Bobby DeCillo, called the explosion of police brutality excessive and unreasonable.
Walker’s family said they did not know why Walker fled the police. DeCillo said Walker grieved over the recent death of his fiancée, but his family wasn’t concerned beyond that, and he wasn’t a criminal. “I hope we have a clear picture of Gayland unarmed when he passed through the parking lot,” DeCillo said.
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