Jayland Walker had at least 60 gunshot wounds in a police shooting

Jayland Walker had at least 60 gunshot wounds in a police shooting

() — Jayland Walker suffered at least 60 gunshot wounds when Akron, Ohio, police officers fatally shot him during a pursuit last week, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said Sunday, citing a medical examiner’s report.

City officials also played police body camera footage for the first time Sunday, nearly a week after the fatal shooting. The video raises more questions about the shooting of an unarmed black man that is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI).

Police said the shooting occurred after Walker, 25, fled when officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop for violations on Monday, June 27.

After a car chase, Walker got out of his car and a foot chase ensued, police said. Agents believed Walker was putting his hand on his waist and “felt that Mr. Walker had turned around and was gesturing and moving into a firing position,” Mylett said.

Walker, however, was not armed, Mylett said Sunday.

During the vehicle pursuit, police said, a shot was fired from Walker’s car.

In a narrated body camera video, police said that about 40 seconds after Walker walked away from police, “a gunshot-like sound can be heard on officers’ body cameras.” Police also said “a flash of light” could be seen on the driver’s side of the car at the time of the sound.

“That changes the whole nature of the traffic stop,” Mylett said at the news conference on Sunday. “It went from being a routine traffic stop, to a public safety issue now. And then the chase continued.”

A gun and charger were found in Walker’s car after the shooting, police said, along with a gold ring.

Eight officers were “directly involved in the shooting,” Mylett said, and all have been placed on administrative leave, in accordance with Department Policy.

The BCI, which is investigating the fatal shooting, has yet to confirm the number of times Walker was shot, Mylett said, and it is not yet known how many rounds were fired.

“However, based on the video, I anticipate that number to be high,” he said. “A lot of bullets were fired.”

Mylett said officers recovered a shell casing near the scene of the attempted traffic stop that was “consistent with the firearm that Mr. Walker had in his vehicle. The BCI will determine whether or not that shell casing came from the gun.”

He added that a traffic camera captured “what we believe to be a flash coming from the car. Again, the BCI will determine whether or not that is the case.”

Walker died of multiple gunshot wounds to the face, abdomen and upper legs, affiliate WEWS reported, citing findings from its media partner, the Akron Beacon Journal.

The newspaper, which was allowed to review an investigative worksheet at the medical examiner’s office, said it “indicated that Walker was observed lying on his back and handcuffed when a medical examiner investigator arrived at the scene of the shooting.”

Protesters hold signs with “Justice for Jayland” messages as they gather outside Akron City Hall to protest the murder of Jayland Walker, shot by police, in Akron, Ohio, on July 3, 2022. (Credit: MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP via Getty Images)

The Jayland Walker family calls for peace and justice

Robert Dejournett, a relative of Walker and pastor of St. Ashworth In Christ Temple Church of God in Akron, told ‘s Polo Sandoval that the family wants Walker to be remembered as a fun-loving young man who was full of life.

“We are God-fearing people who believe in God and we want to exemplify that even in this process,” Dejournett said. “We don’t want riots or anything like that.”

Dejournett said the family hopes the shooting will lead to systemic change.

“We want to take this and we want to use it for the benefit of systemic change,” Dejournett said. “We want to be treated like human beings, you know, black men, young men, they’re scared when it comes to the police, that shouldn’t be the case,” he said.

Lawyers for Jayland Walker’s family held a news conference shortly after police released the footage, emphasizing that while the family wants answers, they also want the public to “provide peace, dignity and a chance for justice, by Jayland.”

“Every time I watch the video, it makes it worse for me,” attorney Ken Abbarno said. “Every movement I see, every gunshot I hear, and every time I see Jayland lying on the ground, it gets more and more horrible.”

Abbarno said the video is “so much more than ‘hard to watch’. It’s something that should never, ever have to be seen.”

Bobby DiCello, another family attorney, said Jayland Walker had “never broken the law a day in his life, any crime of any kind.” DiCello said Walker’s behavior on Monday “would be indicative of some distress, some fear, something that he was going through.”

The police union supports the agents

The Akron Police Union believes the officers involved in the shooting had their actions justified, “including the number of shots fired,” according to a statement issued Sunday by the Akron Lodge Fraternal Order of Police. No. 7.

“The decision to deploy deadly force, as well as the number of shots fired, is consistent with use-of-force protocols and officer training,” the statement said.

Each agent is “fully cooperating” with the independent investigation conducted by the BCI, according to the statement.

City of Akron asks the public to remain calm

Prior to the release of the images, Akron officials asked the community to be patient and allow the investigation to take place while peacefully protesting if they wished to demonstrate.

“I won’t beat around the bush: The video you are about to see is heartbreaking and very hard to take in,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said at a news conference ahead of the footage’s release.

The mayor recognized the protest rights of Akron residents. “But I hope the community can agree that violence and destruction is not the answer,” he said, calling for the demonstrations to remain peaceful.

“Be patient and let the prosecutor do his job,” he said.

City leaders stressed that the images were released under a new city ordinance that requires video footage documenting the use of force by an active police officer to be released within seven days of to the incident.

Mylett said the city welcomes peaceful protests but is prepared if demonstrations turn violent.

“We have developed an operations plan to manage and provide a safe space in this city for people to protest,” Mylett said. “And in case it becomes a situation where it’s no longer peaceful, we have an operations plan for that as well, and I’m not going to discuss any of the details of that.”

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