Biden: DOJ will take ‘appropriate action’ if violations found in Jayland Walker police shooting

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President Joe Biden speaks at Max S. Hayes Hight School, Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden on Wednesday told a crowd in Cleveland that the Justice Department will take “appropriate action” if an investigation finds that violations occurred in the shooting of Jayland Walker, a Black man who was killed by police during an attempted traffic stop in Akron last week.

Biden, who was in Cleveland to deliver remarks about his economic agenda, began his speech by addressing the shooting of Walker.

“Hello, Cleveland! Before I begin, though, I want to make one serious comment about the shooting and the death of Jayland Walker,” Biden said.

“If the evidence reveals potential violations of federal criminal statutes, the Justice Department will take the appropriate action. I just want you to know,” he said.

The president said the Justice Department and FBI in Akron, Ohio, as well as other officials are “closely monitoring what happened” and that the FBI is coordinating with state and local partners “to provide resources and specialized skill.”

Numerous elected officials and the NAACP have called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the police shooting. Law enforcement officers had sought to stop Walker for equipment and traffic violations when a vehicular pursuit and foot chase ensued. 

Police have said officers believed Walker was a threat because he appeared to have fired a shot during an earlier chase. Police body camera footage released Sunday showed officers firing a barrage of bullets at Walker but did not include the moment when police say they pulled him over.

The shooting has sparked protests and reignited calls for police reform two years after a white Minnesota police officer murdered George Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on him for more than nine minutes. 

A state of emergency was called in Akron on Monday following protests on Sunday night.

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