State Watch

Deputy on leave after fatally shooting man in street

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A North Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man on Jan. 8 has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation of the incident.

Deputy Jeffrey Hash, a lieutenant with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, was named as the officer involved in shooting 37-year-old Jason Walker during a traffic incident last weekend in Fayetteville, according to a statement shared on Facebook by county Sheriff Ennis Wright.

“Our sincere condolences go out to Jason Walker’s family,” Wright added. 

Walker’s death sparked protests in the city of Fayetteville on Sunday. 

Hash, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, claimed Walker jumped onto the hood of his car, ripped off his windshield wiper and began beating the windshield with it, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

Walker’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Ricks, told protesters that Walker was shot at least four times and no officers ran to his aid.

“He was not acting crazy, he didn’t jump on traffic,” Ricks said during a speech. “That officer murdered him.”

During the protest, one person held up a sign that read: “4 shots in the back,” while others carried pictures of Walker in the march from the Fayetteville Police Department to city hall.

The Fayetteville Police Department responded to the incident and took Hash into custody, but did not arrest him, said Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins during a news conference on Sunday evening.

“We know many in our community have heavy hearts and they are grieving,” Hawkins said. “Any time a death occurs, the community should be upset.” 

Ricks contends that her boyfriend was headed across the street just outside his home when he was struck by the officer’s vehicle — what appears to be a red truck — before Hash shot and killed him, she told the News & Observer.

Videos posted online show Walker lifeless on the ground near the driver’s seat of the truck while officers attempt to calm down people near the scene.

But Hawkins, the city police chief, said there was no indication that the truck hit someone, citing the vehicle’s black box computer, which logs speed and impact events, among others.

“That computer did not record any impact with any person,” she said. “We currently have no witnesses who claim anybody was hit by this truck.”

Hawkins also noted a windshield wiper was torn off and it was used to break the windshield in “several places.”

The Fayetteville Police Department is investigating the incident along with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, Hawkins said.

Tags Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Ennis Wright Fayeteville Fayetteville Police Department Jason Walker Jeffrey Hash North Carolina Police shooting

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