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Jayland Walker’s sister: ‘The last thing I would have imagined him having with him is a gun’

Protesters march along South High Street on Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Akron, Ohio, calling for justice for Jayland Walker after he was fatally shot by Akron Police earlier in the week, following a vehicle and foot pursuit. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal via AP)

The sister of Jayland Walker, a Black man who died after being shot by police in Akron, Ohio, said on Wednesday “the last thing I would have imagined him having with him is a gun.”

“I’ve never known him to own a gun of any sort at all. He never brought it to my attention. The last thing I would have imagined him having with him is a gun,” Jada Walker said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Bobby DiCello, a lawyer representing the Walker family, also said on the program that his team did not find conclusive evidence that a firearm was discharged from Jayland Walker’s vehicle during a police pursuit on June 27 before Jayland Walker was shot multiple times by officers.

“I don’t see clear evidence of a gun being fired. More importantly, the gun was recovered in the backseat, according to the preliminary autopsy report that my team [reviewed], so I need to know how the gun got in the front seat. All nice, presented with the ring and the … you know, the cartridge pulled out and the bullets there. This looked like a stage picture,” DiCello said.

Jayland Walker’s legal team later issued a press release clarifying DiCello’s comments with regard to where the gun was reportedly found by officials. In contrast to DiCello, police had previously shown a photo of the firearm that showed it in the front seat.

“Currently, the Walker family and its legal team have no reason to believe that the Medical Examiner’s report is inaccurate with respect to that statement,” his legal team said, adding that “no prior statements to the media made by the Walker legal team with respect to the location of the gun should be used to infer or suggest that the initial report of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office conflicts with the ongoing BCI investigation, or prior statements of the Chief of Police or the City of Akron.”

Law enforcement officers had sought to stop Jayland Walker for equipment and traffic violations and vehicular pursuit and foot chase ensued, CNN reported, citing the police.

Police have said that it looked like a gunshot had been fired from his car during the chase. A gold ring, a handgun and a loaded magazine were later recovered, authorities said.

Police reportedly fired at Jayland Walker after unsuccessful attempts to detain him with stun guns, and he suffered 60 wounds. 

Police body camera footage of the incident has since been released.

“It’s just not matching the person that I know, because he’s not into that and that’s not him. That’s not Jayland, and I can’t accept that at all,” Jada Walker said on ABC when asked if she was not ready to see the footage yet.

“I won’t see him again. I won’t be able to hug him again or just remind them that I love him or anything like that,” she said earlier in the interview.

The shooting has sparked protests and reignited calls for police reform sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minnesota police officer knelt on him for over nine minutes two years ago.

The Hill has reached out to Akron police for comment on the matter.

Updated July 7 at 9:46 p.m.

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