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Ohio police say Jayland Walker was unarmed;  Officers feared he would shoot – NBC Chicago

A black man was unarmed when Akron police chased him on foot and killed him in a hail of gunfire, but officers believe he had shot them earlier from a vehicle and feared he was preparing to shoot again, authorities said Sunday at a news conference.

Akron police have released video of the shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, who was killed June 27 in a chase that began with an attempted traffic stop. The mayor called the shooting “heartbreaking” while begging for peace and patience from the community.

It’s unclear how many shots were fired by the eight officers involved in the shooting, but Walker suffered more than 60 injuries. A lawyer for Walker’s family said officers continued shooting even after he was on the ground.

Officers attempted to stop Walker’s car early in the morning for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but less than a minute into a chase, the sound of a gunshot was heard from the car and a Transportation Department camera captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash. coming from the vehicle, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said. It changed the nature of the case “from a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue”, he said.

Police body camera footage of the nighttime confrontation shows the minutes that followed. Several officers shouting with guns approach the slowing car on foot, as it rolls over a curb and over a curb. A person wearing a ski mask comes out of the passenger door and runs towards a parking lot. Police chase him for about 10 seconds before officers fire from multiple directions, in a flurry of gunfire that lasts 6 or 7 seconds.

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

Mylett said Walker’s actions are hard to make out on live video, but one still photo appears to show him “dropping to the waist” and another appears to show him turning to an officer. He said a third image “captures a forward movement of his arm.”

Officers were separated at the scene afterward, and each indicated they believed Walker got into firing position, Mylett said.

The footage released by the police ends with the officers firing shots and does not show what happened in the moments that followed.

Mylett said an officer shooting someone must be “prepared to explain why they did what they did, they must be able to articulate the specific threats they faced…and they must be held to account.” responsible”. But he said he was suspending judgment on their actions until they made their statements, and he said the union president had told him everyone was “cooperating fully” with the investigation.

Police say 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. Officers provided assistance, and it can be heard that he still had a pulse, but he was pronounced dead, Mylett said.

A handgun, a loaded magazine and an apparent wedding ring were found on the car seat. A case compatible with the weapon was later found in the area where officers believed a gunshot originated from the vehicle.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost promised a “full, fair and expert investigation” and warned that “body-worn camera footage is just the big picture.”

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

Protesters marched through the city and gathered outside the Akron Justice Center after the video was released. NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement that Walker’s death was not self-defense, but “was murder.” Point blank.”

Walker’s family are calling for accountability but also for peace, their lawyers said. One of the lawyers, Bobby DiCello, called the police flurry of gunfire excessive and unreasonable, and said police handcuffed Walker before trying to administer first aid.

“How it came to this with a lawsuit is beyond me,” DiCello said.

He said Walker’s family did not know why he fled from the police. Walker was mourning the recent death of his fiancée, but his family had no indication of concern beyond that, and he was not a criminal, DiCello said.

“I hope we will remember that when Jayland drove through that parking lot, he was unarmed,” DiCello said.

He said he didn’t know if the gold ring found near the gun in the car belonged to Walker.

NBC Chicago

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