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Akron Police Told To Stop Wearing Name Tags Amid Mounting Threats

Akron, OH – Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett has instructed his officers to remove their name tags from their uniforms amid mounting threats against the police force in connection with the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker.

Citizens were outraged when rumors spread that Akron police officers weren’t wearing badges or nametags anymore, WKYC reported.

Chief Mylett addressed the concerns at a virtual press conference on Thursday.

The police chief said officers were still wearing their police badges on their uniforms, WKYC reported.

However, he said he has instructed the police force to remove their name tags as threats against officers continued to mount following the officer-involved shooting of Walker.

“Every officer is wearing a badge,” Chief Mylett said. “I authorized them to take their name tags off because of the threats that were made against our officers and the bounties that were placed on officers’ heads.”

“People were getting their names off of their uniforms, getting on social media and elsewhere and going into our Facebook page here in the police department to identify, get a picture, send that picture and that image out into the public,” the chief explained.

“In some instances, they got family photographs and put it out on social media,” he continued. “But because of the threats that were made against our officers, I authorized them to take off their name tags.”

Chief Mylett said that officers who are asked for their identifying information have been instructed to give their employee number, WKYC reported.

If that information doesn’t satisfy the citizen, officers have been instructed to call a supervisor to the scene, according to the chief.

On Monday, the police chief revealed that threats against police officers had escalated.

“There have been bounties placed on police officers’ heads,” Chief Mylett told reporters at a virtual press briefing on July 11, WJW reported.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said that he has also received threats.

“There has been threats against myself, my family, my home,” Horrigan said.

Chief Mylett addressed misinformation that had been spread in the community claiming the officers who shot Walker had been returned to duty, WEWS reported.

The police chief said all of the officers who participated in the officer-involved shooting are still on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

He said information about the names of the officers and “other events” was also incorrect, WEWS reported.

“When you when we put out misinformation, that actually tends to increase the level of tension,” Chief Mylett said. “And I’m asking the public to please be mindful of that. Misinformation doesn’t help the situation at all.”

“BCI is doing their investigation and we will do an internal investigation at the conclusion of that, all information will be shared,” the police chief explained.

The family and activists have called for the names of the officers to be released, but the mayor said the city had a long-standing policy of not releasing the names of officers involved in fatal shootings, WEWS reported.

Chief Mylett said he had a duty to protect the officers and their families as well as the community.

“Look, the challenge right now is there’s been bounties placed on police officers’ heads,” he told reporters.

Walker’s family is demanding that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an investigation into Walker’s death, WEWS reported.

The city’s emergency curfew, which was reinstated after the violent protests continued last week, will remain in place but the mayor announced he was extending the hours in an effort to help struggling businesses.

Horrigan said the curfew will be place from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. while the unrest continued, WEWS reported.

Initial media reports on the shooting classified it as a “routine traffic stop,” that ended with Walker being shot at least 60 times by the police officers who were chasing him.

However, police reports showed that a New Franklin police officer saw Walker’s vehicle with a broken taillight and no license plate a day earlier and tried to stop him, WJW reported.

Walker refused to stop for the officer’s lights and siren and fled the scene.

The officer chased Walker but his supervisor ordered him to terminate the chase when it reached the New Franklin city limits, WJW reported.

The officer chased Walker but his supervisor ordered him to terminate the chase when it reached the New Franklin city limits, WJW reported.

Hours later, Akron police spotted Walker’s vehicle with its missing license plate and broken taillight but opted not to stop it.

But the information about the New Franklin officer’s chase had been uploaded into the law enforcement database and the Akron officers received an alert about it shortly after they failed to stop the vehicle, WJW reported.

The officers spotted the suspect vehicle again in the North Hill neighborhood at about 12:30 a.m. on June 27, shortly after they received the New Franklin police alert.

So they tried to pull over Walker’s vehicle, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Police said Walker fled onto Route 8 southbound and fired a gun at officers from his moving vehicle.

Forty seconds after the traffic stop was initiated, the officers reported that the suspect in the vehicle was shooting at them, WJW reported.

Walker got onto Interstate 77 and then exited into the Firestone Park neighborhood with officers still in pursuit, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

That was when the suspect jumped out of his car while it was still moving and fled on foot.

Bodycam video showed he was wearing a black ski mask when he dove from the vehicle.

Officers chased Walker into the parking lot of the Bridgestone Americas campus off East Wilbeth, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Officials said police deployed tasers at Walker but they proved ineffective, WKYC reported.

“Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them,” police said. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”

Walker was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene, NBC News reported.

He suffered gunshot wounds to his face, abdomen, arms, and legs, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone

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