A 25-year-old black man suffered at least 60 injuries when officers shot him last week following a high-speed chase in which the man fired a gun from the side window driver, authorities said.
Jayland Walker was unarmed when he was killed, although a gun was recovered from his car after the shooting, Police Chief Stephen Mylett said at a Sunday news conference in Akron, Ohio, when police released large portions of body camera videos of 13 officers. who were at the scene, prompting further questions about Walker’s death on June 27.
The shooting is still under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI).
According to Mylett, eight officers fired their guns after the vehicle chase and a short foot chase, thinking Walker was turning toward them, reaching for his waist, and “getting into a firing position.”
While a medical examiner’s report revealed that Walker suffered at least 60 wounds, the medical examiner is still working to determine how many times he was shot and which wounds are entry wounds and which are exit wounds. , said Mylett. The BCI has not yet confirmed the number of times Walker was shot, Mylett said, and it remains unclear how many shots officers fired.
“However, based on the video, I anticipate that number to be high,” he said. “A lot of bullets were fired.”
The incident began around 12.30pm last Monday, when police said Walker fled as officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop for traffic and equipment violations. About 40 seconds into the chase, police say a shot was fired from Walker’s vehicle.
“It changes the whole nature of stopping traffic,” Mylett said Sunday. “It went from a routine traffic check to a public safety issue. And then the chase continued.
After several minutes, Walker got out of his car and fled on foot, police said. Officers deployed Tasers, Mylett said, but failed to subdue Walker.
The incident ended shortly after when, according to a police timeline, Walker “stopped and quickly turned to the officers”, and the officers discharged their weapons. At least one officer can be heard towards the end of the videos which were released shouting “Cease fire”.
The eight officers who Mylett said were “directly involved in the shooting” have all been placed on paid administrative leave, in accordance with department policy. According to information released by the city, seven of the officers are white and one is black.
The video is “something that should never, ever be seen,” Ken Abbarno, an attorney for Walker’s family, said at a separate press conference on Sunday.
“Every time I watched the video, it got worse for me,” Abbarno said. “Every move I see, every kick I hear, and every time I see Jayland lying on the ground is getting more and more horrible.”
The video released by police includes footage from the body-worn cameras of 13 officers who were at the scene.
According to police, the events leading up to the shooting began around 12:30 a.m. when police attempted to arrest Walker, who was driving a silver Buick, for traffic and equipment violations.
About 40 seconds after Walker walked away from police, “a sound consistent with a gunshot can be heard on the officers’ body-worn cameras,” police said in a narrated video timeline of the incident. Police also said a “flash of light” could be seen on the driver’s side of the car at the time of the noise.
Mylett said officers recovered a casing near the scene of the attempted traffic stop that was “consistent with the firearm Mr. Walker had in his vehicle. The BCI will determine whether or not this casing is from the pistol or not.
He added that a traffic camera captured “what we believe to be a flash of muzzle coming out of the car. Again, the BCI will determine whether or not this is the case.
Near the end of the chase, some footage shows the silver car Walker was driving coming to a stop before it began to exit the driver’s side of the vehicle.
At least one officer shouts, “Let me see your hands” and tells him not to move. The video shows Walker getting back into the car, which is moving slowly. We then see him exit through the passenger side door and flee from the agents.
The police narration of the video says officers “attempted to bring the suspect into safe custody by deploying their Tasers”, and shows a still image of an officer deploying a Taser. The Tasers failed and Walker kept running, the narration says.
At least one officer yells at Walker to show his hands, video shows. The chase on foot continued for several seconds, and at one point Walker “stopped and quickly turned towards the pursuing officers,” the police narration reads. “Officers responded by discharging their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Dozens of gunshots are heard for seven seconds as officers fire at Walker, a number of videos show.
The shootout ends after at least one officer shouts “Cease fire” three times.
Police say footage of Walker at the time he was shot was blurred at the request of the family, but in some footage he appears to be on the ground as the gunfire continues.
Walker died from multiple gunshot wounds to the face, abdomen and upper legs, CNN affiliate WEWS reported, citing findings from its media partner, the Akron Beacon Journal.
The Journal, which was allowed to review an investigation worksheet at the medical examiner’s office, said it ‘indicated that Walker was observed lying on his back and handcuffed when a medical investigator arrived on the scene of the shooting”.
A handgun and a loaded magazine were found in Walker’s car after the shooting, police said, along with a gold ring.
Walker’s family wants him to be remembered as a fun and lively young man, said Robert Dejournett, a parent and pastor at St. Ashworth Temple Church of God in Christ.
“We are God-fearing people who believe in God and we want to exemplify that even in this process,” Dejournett told CNN. “We don’t want riots or anything like that.”
The family hopes the shooting will lead to change, Dejournett said.
“We want to take that 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.
While the family wants answers from the police, they also want the public to ‘give peace, give dignity and give justice a chance – for Jayland,’ Walker’s family lawyers said after police posted the images.
Walker “never broke the law a day in his life – no crime of any kind,” said Bobby DiCello, another attorney for the family.
Walker’s behavior on Monday “would be indicative of some distress, some fear, something he was going through,” DiCello said.
The Akron police union believes the officers involved in the shooting were justified in their actions, “including (with) the number of shots fired,” according to a statement issued Sunday by the Fraternal Order of Police. of Akron Lodge #7.
“The decision to deploy lethal force as well as the number of shots fired are consistent with use of force protocols and officer training,” the statement said.
Each officer is “cooperating fully” with the independent investigation conducted by the BCI, according to the statement.
Prior to the release of the footage, Akron officials asked the community to be patient and allow the investigation to proceed while protesting peacefully if they wished to protest.
“I won’t mince words – the video you’re about to watch is heartbreaking and very difficult to take in,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said at a press conference before the footage was released.
The mayor recognized the right of Akron residents to protest. “But hopefully the community can agree that violence and destruction is not the answer,” he said, asking that protests remain peaceful.
“Please be patient and let the attorney general do his job,” he said.
City leaders pointed out that footage was released under a new city ordinance that requires video footage documenting an active police officer’s use of force to be released within seven days of the incident .
Mylett said the city welcomes peaceful protests but is prepared if protests turn violent.
“We have developed a plan of operations to manage and provide a safe space in this city for people to protest,” Mylett said. “And in the event that it turns into a situation where it’s no longer peaceful, we also have an operations plan in place for that, and I’m not going to discuss the specifics of that.”