The City of Akron and the Akron Police Department have released the body-worn camera footage from last Monday morning's officer-involved shooting death of Jayland Walker, 25.
Due to the nature of the video, WAKR has chosen not to show that footage here.
Prior to releasing the body-cam footage during a press conference on Sunday, July 3rd, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Deputy Mayor Marco Sommerville, and Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett all addressed the public. All three city leaders expressed their condolences to the family of Jayland Walker. Further, both Mayor Horrigan and Chief Mylett thanked the Walker family for their call for peace in the city following the release of the footage.
Protests and demonstrations have continued in the city since mid-last week and are expected to continue through the holiday weekend and beyond. The City of Akron canceled all Fourth of July events that were scheduled, including the Rib, White, & Blue festival at Lock 3. In a statement released by Mayor Dan Horrigan, he said that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.
The video starts with the police chase and then shows Jayland Walker exiting through the front passenger door of his vehicle, that was still moving when he exited, and then continued to run from officers. A taser was deployed by at least one officer, but that did not stop Walker who continued to run. Seconds later, as shown in the video, APD officers open fire, striking Walker several times. The gunfire stops after a few seconds and Walker, whose body was blurred out in the video per the request of his family, was left motionless on the ground.
After the release of the body-cam footage on Sunday, Police Chief Mylett did not comment on whether or not the shooting was justifed, only deferring to the Ohio BCI investigation which he noted will take time. The Chief did say he wanted to clear up some misinformation being distributed since the shooting early Monday morning, noting that the number of shots fired by Akron Police officers was never confirmed, but is likely close to the number, 90, that has been reported.
Chief Mylett noted that officers immediately attempted to provide CPR to Walker until Akron Fire / EMS arrived on scene, shortly after which Walker was pronounced dead. Inside of Walker's vehicle, police found a gun and a loaded magazine on the front seat.
After Sunday's press conference, the City of Akron release the following regarding the shooting of Jayland Walker and the ongoing investigation:
Today, following a press conference, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett released body-worn camera footage from all officers involved in the shooting of Jayland Walker that took place June 27. That footage is available (at the City of Akron's YouTube page).
A new city ordinance, adopted last year (available in full here), requires the City to release video of an incident involving a police officer’s use of deadly force against a person or use of force resulting in serious bodily injury to a person, within seven days of the incident. The initial release must include footage from at least three cameras, assuming multiple devices captured the events. In this case, the city has released footage from all eight officers involved in the incident as well as five other officers who were on scene but did not shoot.
The city announced on June 28 that it had contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and requested that BCI begin an independent investigation of the incident. That process is already underway.
“I am urging the public to do one of the most difficult things I can ask, and that is to be patient and let the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation do their work," said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. "It's my commitment to be as open and transparent as we can be, given that there is an ongoing independent investigation. I trust that investigation to be fair, thorough, and just.”
"By formally requesting that BCI handle this initial investigation, we are following what I believe to be best practice and which many communities across the country are now doing," said Chief Steve Mylett. "Utilizing an independent entity to conduct the investigation will be a further step in increasing trust and accountability with our citizens.”
Akron has also released a map of the pursuit, a timeline of the incident, a transcript of the dispatch conversation during the pursuit, a description of the investigatory process and basic information on the officers involved including race, gender, years of service, and disciplinary record. That information is available here.
"Releasing the body-worn footage in a timely fashion and moving to an independent investigation are the types of changes our community has been requesting for decades," said Deputy Mayor Marco Sommerville. "From here, we need to be patient and allow that investigation to run its course. I'm urging peace for our city throughout this process."
The city was joined at the press conference by faith leaders in the community who stood and echoed the city’s call for peace.
Days after the shooting, the Summit County Medical Examiner's report concluded that Walker died from multiple gunshot wounds and the manner of death was "homicide." The Ohio Bureau of Investigation is now handling the case, as per the immediate request of Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett. The following is a statement from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's office on the matter:
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today issued the following statement regarding a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in Akron this week:
“People want and deserve answers, and they shall have them. BCI will conduct a complete, fair and expert investigation,” Yost said. “Body-worn camera footage is just one view of the whole picture – before drawing conclusions, the full review must take place.”
Yost noted that the investigative file will be made public at the conclusion of the case, a practice his office began last year. People who are interested can review the results of prior OICI investigations on the Attorney General’s website.
Yost said there may be additional civilian witnesses and urged them to talk to BCI investigators by calling 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446) or by filing a tip online.
“The goal is the truth, and we need to talk to anyone who knows anything. Silence will never produce justice.”