Akron, OH – City officials have issued an emergency curfew for July 4th after violent protests over the death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker left storefronts smashed across Akron.
Chief Mylett said there were eight officers who were directly involved in the shooting and all of them have been placed on paid administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) investigates the incident.
The police chief addressed rumors about how many times Walker was shot and how many rounds had been fired in total by Akron police officers during the incident, The New York Times reported.
Attorneys for the family had told the media that officers fired more than 90 rounds at Walker and that he had been shot more than 60 times. Walker had fired a gun at police officers during a vehicle pursuit before fleeing on foot.
“We do not know the exact number of rounds that were fired… however, based on the video, I anticipate that number to be high,” Chief Mylett told reporters.
“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. But right now, we just don’t know,” the police chief explained.
He said the medical examiner’s report “indicates over 60 wounds to Mr. Walker’s body. There was a gun recovered from Mr. Walker’s vehicle. At the time of the shooting, he was unarmed.”
Chief Mylett promised a thorough investigation of the officer-involved shooting and said the officers would be held accountable, The New York Times reported.
“When an officer makes the most critical decision in his or her life as a police officer – doesn’t matter where in the country this happens – when they make that most critical decision to point their firearm at another human being and pull the trigger, they’ve gotta be ready to explain why they did what they did,” the police chief said. “They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing – and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun – and they need to be held to account.”
Police officers are generally allowed to shoot suspects who reasonably appear to present an immediate threat or suspects who flee after trying to seriously hurt someone.
The incident began at about 12:30 a.m. on June 27 after police tried to stop Walker for a motor vehicle violation in the North Hill neighborhood, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Police said Walker fled onto Route 8 southbound and fired a gun at officers from his moving vehicle.
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.
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.
Protests erupted in Akron last week but remained mostly peaceful for the first few days.
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW: Akron Police have now brought in Summit County Sheriffs Office several SWAT Teams in as a show of force, intimidation and to defend and protect The #AkronPolice Department. #JaylandWalker #AkronPD #AkronProtest pic.twitter.com/wpMnjJWfoY
— Jayland Walker #JaylandWalker #AkronPolice (@sirmaejor) July 3, 2022
Black Panthers show up "armed" in Akron to protest the death of the black who shot at cops. The boomers will scream Fed at Patriot Fr while not even giving a second thought to these guys. pic.twitter.com/Lw6jmhlDaE
— SirDuckyOfWindsor (@DWindsorAndMe) July 4, 2022
But on Sunday, things turned violent in the streets after the bodycam video was released and showed eight officers firing at the Walker, WEWS reported.
Police ultimately deployed teargas to disperse the crowd after dumpsters were set ablaze and windows on numerous businesses were smashed by rioters.
Currently happening A Large #protest underway for For #JaylandWalker as multiple Dumpsters fires being lit on #fire with reports of people #Smashing Buildings windows as #unlawful #assembly was just declared pic.twitter.com/QNEIyYlHZt
— ViralVdoz (@viralvdoz) July 4, 2022
🚨#BREAKING: Cops are in full riot gear as Tear gas deployed in Akron Ohio
Currently happening Akron Ohio police have deployed tear gas while attempting to clear protestors from outside courthouse in Akron, Ohio, amid protests over shooting of Jayland Walker pic.twitter.com/gRZHX1u23Y
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) July 4, 2022
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced a curfew for Independence Day early on Monday morning, WEWS reported.
The curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. on Monday night until 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
“As I stated yesterday, I fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble. What we have been calling for since the beginning, and what the Walker family and many community leaders and faith leaders have also urged, is peace,” Horrigan said in a statement.
“However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful,” the mayor continued. “There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron. Small businesses up and down Main St. have had their windows broken.”
“We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence,” he said. “In light of the damage that has occurred and in order to preserve peace in our community, I have declared a state of emergency, implemented a curfew and canceled the fireworks which were scheduled for tonight.”