AKRON, Ohio –
Video released on Sunday showed eight police officers in Akron, Ohio were involved in a shooting that killed an unarmed black man whose body was found with around 60 gunshot wounds after fleeing a traffic stop last week.
Police released several videos at a press conference, one of which shows a shot being fired from the car driven by 25-year-old Jayland Walker. He fled in his car after officers attempted to arrest him for a minor traffic violation.
After a chase lasting several minutes, Walker jumped out of the car and fled from the police, the video showed. According to police, it appears he was turning to officers who, at the time, believed he was armed. A firearm was later found in his car.
Walker family lawyer Bobby DiCello told reporters on Sunday he was “very concerned” about the police allegation that Walker shot officers from his car, and stressed there was no basis for his violent death.
“They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun,” DiCello said. “I ask you, as he flees, what is reasonable? To shoot him? No, that is not reasonable.”
DiCello urged the public to be peaceful in their protests against Walker’s murder, adding that Walker’s family wanted to avoid more violence.
The shooting was the latest in a string of murders of black men and women by law enforcement across the United States that critics say are racist and unjustified, including the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis which has sparked global protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
On Sunday afternoon, the Akron NAACP led a peaceful protest at City Hall. Hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of the city of some 200,000 people, waving “Black Lives Matter” flags and chanting “We’re done dying!” and “Justice for Jayland!”
It’s unclear how many bullets hit Walker, but body camera video shows police shooting at him.
The medical examiner is still determining how many of the 60 injuries were entry injuries versus exit injuries, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said.
Mylett said officers attempted to administer first aid to Walker after he was shot, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The eight officers directly involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, Mylett said, and they have made no individual statements.
Those officers said they believed Walker was “getting into firing position” when he got out of his car, prompting them to react to him as a potential threat, Mylett said.
Pressed by reporters for evidence Walker fired a gun from his car, Mylett said police returned to the area where they believe Walker fired from his car after the incident and found a casing “consistent with a firearm that Mr. Walker had in his vehicle.”
Police also point to what appears to be a flash of light from the driver’s side of Walker’s car in the video, which they believe is a muzzle flash.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting and has not confirmed any of these details.
(Reporting by Gaelen Morse in Akron, Ohio, and Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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