According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a grand jury decided against filing state criminal charges against the police officers involved in the shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker on June 27, 2022, in Akron, following a car and foot chase.
“The grand jury just a little while ago issued what is called a no bill, meaning that there will be no state criminal action, no charges at the state level,” Yost said in a Monday press conference. Bobby DiCello, a prominent civil rights lawyer across the country, has confirmed that the Walker family intends to sue over Walker’s untimely demise.
Authorities said they tried to stop Walker for a driving infraction and a vehicle equipment violation. It appears his refusal to quit sparked a pursuit that ultimately resulted in his death. The official body camera footage showed a brief burst of light that they believe to be the muzzle flash of a gun originating from the direction of Walker’s driver’s side window.
Another video from an officer’s body camera shows them reporting that shots were fired from inside Walker’s vehicle. In the video, an officer is seen following Walker’s vehicle and maintaining the pursuit through residential streets.
“Mr. Walker took at least one shot from his vehicle at the police, led them on a chase and exited from his vehicle in a ski mask, ignoring multiple commands by officers to show his hands and to stop,” Yost said, adding that there is no definitive proof as to where he was directing his gun.
Walker appears to have slowed down at one point and got out of the passenger side door before the car came to a complete stop. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office claims that stun guns were used in an attempt to subdue the suspect.
“Mr. Walker then reached for his waistband in what several officers described as a cross-draw motion, planted his foot and turned toward the officers while raising his hand,” Yost said, adding that officers were unaware Walker was unarmed after exiting the car.
“Various officers indicated in their statements that they heard a gunshot and they responded to the gunshot thinking it was Mr. Walker who was shooting,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Anthony Pierson said at the Monday press conference.
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Walker was fatally shot as he fled from police, who opened fire with simultaneous shots from eight different policemen. Walker was riddled with bullets; he was hit 46 times. Officials claim that 94 rounds were fired by police at Walker.
Inside his vehicle, police discovered a gun. The civil rights community responded to his killing by holding rallies and demanding answers. After the grand jury announcement, Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan said, “I want to say again, my deepest condolences to the loved ones of Jayland Walker, his friends, and his family remain in my prayers and thoughts.”
Horrigan acknowledged that it took about nine months for the grand jury to be seated and come to a decision. Walker was a witty, quiet, and generous man, according to his loved ones. “Jayland was the best,” his mother, Pamela Walker, said in an interview with ABC News last year.
“He was the most lovable guy. … And he was quiet and reserved, but he was a lot of fun. He liked to joke around. He would joke and make you laugh and loved to listen to music. And he was really helpful to people.”
Authorities claimed they were unable to piece together Walker’s rationale for his conduct that evening. According to authorities, Walker had no prior criminal history. “I don’t want to speculate as to what Mr. Walker was thinking at the time,” said Pierson.
“But I can say this, that it has been made public that Mr. Walker was going through a very tough time in his life. I think it’s been documented that Mr. Walker’s fianceè had died a short time before this incident happened. And he was going through a very tough time and he was hurting.”
Neither the police nor their lawyers have previously commented on the Walker shooting. During a staffing “crisis,” Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett announced that the officers, who had been on paid leave since the fatal shooting, would be returning to administrative duties.
At a press conference on Monday, Mylett said the police force would continue to focus on administrative tasks for the “foreseeable future.” In light of “threats made against them” that “are still believed to be active, viable, and credible,” Mylett has decided not to publicize the names of the officers involved.
Mylett informed reporters that the Akron Police Department will launch an internal inquiry into the shooting, during which the officer’s education, experience, performance under supervision, and technical acumen would be scrutinized.
Mylett added, “Once the internal review is complete, we’ll use the findings to determine if any policies or procedures were violated by any officer or if any policy procedure or tactic should be modified,” When the internal probe is over, he said, the findings would be made public. Mylett claims the report will also be given to a police auditor for inspection.
At a press conference on Monday, Rep. Emilia Sykes, whose district includes Akron, announced that her office would be requesting a DOJ patterns and practices inquiry into the Akron Police Department.
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