State Watch

Akron mayor lifts curfew imposed after police shooting of Jayland Walker

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 mayor of Akron, Ohio, has lifted the curfew that the city imposed amid ongoing demonstrations in response to the police shooting of Jayland Walker. 

“The curfew was put in place due to safety concerns for our downtown corridor and our residents,” Daniel Horrigan said in a statement on Wednesday. “What I want our residents and community to know, is that we aren’t arresting protestors who choose to peacefully protest.” 

Walker, 25, was shot more than 60 times and killed on June 27 as eight responding Akron police officers pursued him after he attempted to flee from a traffic stop. Authorities say they pulled over Walker for equipment and traffic violations.

Authorities also said a gunshot was fired from Walker’s vehicle during the chase, and that they recovered a gold ring, a firearm and a loaded magazine from the scene.  

Protests have erupted in the city, both against the killing and ensuing arrests.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Summit County’s SWAT team was dispatched to the city’s jail on Tuesday as demonstrators gathered outside to protest.

Authorities used tear gas and arrested some of the 75 demonstrators, who they said were disrupting operations by banging on the jailhouse doors, according to the Beacon Journal. 

Horrigan added in his statement that hundreds of residents have also conducted peaceful protests in the community for the past several days, adding that authorities will take “every step” possible to ensure that peaceful demonstrations can go on safely. 

“Those who were arrested were engaged in criminal behavior. They were becoming violent with officers and disrupting the peace which the community has been urging throughout this difficult time in our city,” the mayor said in his statement. 

“These individuals do not represent the larger gathering of peaceful protests and we won’t let them control the narrative of our community who are voicing their concerns,” Horrigan concluded. “I continue to urge peace in our city and ask that if you see threats or instances of violence, that you report them.”

Police body camera footage of the incident has been released to the public

Walker’s death has sparked renewed calls for police reform in the U.S., just two years after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

Tags Akron Akron Police Department Dan Horrigan Derek Chauvin George Floyd Jayland Walker Jayland Walker Ohio Police brutality in the United States racial tensions Social inequality Social justice
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