Unanswered questions await mayor, police chief in aftermath of Jayland Walker shooting

  • In US
  • 2022-07-03 09:22:46Z
  • By Akron Beacon Journal
Pamela Walker, left, and Jada Walker are overwhelmed with grief during a press conference at St.
Pamela Walker, left, and Jada Walker are overwhelmed with grief during a press conference at St.  

It's unclear how many questions surrounding the police shooting of Jayland Walker will get answered Sunday when Akron police release bodycam videos from the multiple officers involved early Monday.

How many officers were involved? Is there evidence supporting police allegations that Walker fired at officers chasing him after an attempted traffic stop in North Hill?

Walker's family has demanded accountability and justice from Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett, who will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Sunday, the deadline mandated by Akron law to release at least three videos of major incidents.

A livestream of the press conference will be available on BeaconJournal.com.

The shooting death has sparked days of protests in Akron and growing national interest.

Horrigan and Mylett say they will discuss Walker's death and review bodycam video recordings of Walker's shooting after he fled from his car in the Firestone Park neighborhood.

When the press conference ends, the police department said it will publicly release the videos. Mylett previously said all applicable videos will be released.

Walker, 25, was shot to death by Akron officers in a parking lot early Monday morning on the Bridgestone Americas campus in the Firestone Park neighborhood after a car chase that started in North Hill over an attempted traffic stop. The chase started at about 12:30 a.m. and lasted about 4½ minutes, followed by Walker being shot and declared dead shortly after 1 a.m.

Jayland Walker: What we know about the fatal Akron police shooting of Jayland Walker

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting the investigation at the request of Akron police.

Here are some of the key issues and unresolved questions.

Gun in Walker's car

A medical examiner report viewed by the Beacon Journal said a gun was recovered from Walker's car. Police reported Walker fired a weapon during the chase.

  • Was gun residue found on Walker's body and in his car?

  • Had the gun found in Walker's car been fired? If so, how many times?

Police chase

Traffic camera video obtained by the Beacon Journal shows only one cruiser in pursuit when Walker enters Route 8 at Tallmadge Avenue at 12:31 a.m.  A second cruiser follows within seconds. At 12:35 a.m., a camera at Interstate 77 and Archwood Avenue shows 10 cruisers following Walker into a residential area.

  • What was the specific traffic violation that prompted the stop?

  • Why did Walker not pull over?

  • Did the chase meet the city's policy for such situations?

  • Is there any video or audio evidence of Walker firing a gun?

Final moments

Police say Walker exited his still moving car in Firestone Park and was then shot by police.

  • Did Walker say or shout anything to police prior to being shot?

  • What attempts did officers take to de-escalate the confrontation?

  • Did Walker have a weapon on him when he was shot? If not, did officers think he might still have a gun?

  • How many officers deployed their stun guns or fired their guns?

Going forward

Some Black leaders have called for Akron to change how it handles traffic stops and for dashboard cameras to be placed back in cruisers. Officer bodycam video is normally obstructed by the dashboards. Others have demanded

  • Will this incident result in any changes in how Akron police handle chases and confrontations with individuals?

  • Will the city buy dashcam videos for all police vehicles?

The Beacon Journal also has requested the standard police incident reports required to be released immediately under Ohio law. The request was filed Tuesday.

The Ohio Supreme Court recently ruled police officers' initial observations of a possible crime and witness statements taken that day are public records that must be disclosed.

Beacon Journal reporter Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Many questions await mayor, police chief in Jayland Walker shooting


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