Akron police release footage of officers firing barrage of bullets at Jayland Walker
Authorities released body camera footage on Sunday showing Akron Police Department officers firing a barrage of bullets at a Black man they were pursuing over an unspecified traffic violation early Monday morning.
The police killing of 25-year-old Jayland Walker has sparked protests in the city alleging police brutality.
Police said at a press conference that the officer who wore the camera was driving a police vehicle and tried to pull over Walker, who slowed down and then fled on foot. The footage did not include the moment when police say they initially pulled over Walker.
After exiting their vehicles, police said the officers attempted to take Walker into custody by using stun guns but ultimately began firing as he continued to evade arrest.
The Walker family’s lawyer, who did not immediately return a request for comment, has previously estimated police shot the 25-year-old at least 60 times.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett called the footage “disturbing” but said authorities had not yet determined the exact number of rounds fired.
“However, based on the video, I anticipate that number to be high,” he said. “A lot of rounds were fired, and I will not be surprised if the number at the end of the investigation is consistent with the number that has been circulating in the media.”
Mylett said involved officers had not yet provided statements, but they had perceived Walker as a threat because he appeared to fire a shot during the earlier vehicular chase and the officers believed he was changing to a firing position as they shot him. Police said they later recovered a handgun, loaded magazine and a gold ring from the vehicle.
“When they make their most critical decision — to point the firearm at another human being and pull the trigger — they’ve got to be ready to explain why they did what they did,” said Mylett, adding that he was reserving judgment until he reviewed the officers’ statements.
He said an officer checked Walker’s pulse after the shooting and attempted to administer first aid. The eight officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues, which Mylett said was standard policy.
Police said they would be releasing additional bodycam footage from the other involved officers in “a short period of time.”
Protesters have marched throughout the city since the shooting, and authorities on Sunday repeatedly urged demonstrators to remain peaceful and wait for the results of the full investigation.
“There’s no doubt that the video you just watched is extremely disturbing and will store a lot of emotions and feelings — shocking and hard to take in,” said Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan (D). “But what we are collectively calling for is peace and happiness. It’s the same thing Mr. Walker’s family is calling for.”