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After video footage was released of the horrific murder of Jayland Walker, local politicians and civil rights activists expressed outrage toward Akron police, seeking justice for the young man.
Derrick Johnson, NAACP President, explained that his death wasn’t self-defense but murder.
“This Black man was killed struck more than 60 times by 90 fired bullets for a possible traffic violation. This doesn’t happen to white people in America. Why do police continuously target us like domestic terrorists? We are just trying to live our lives, and we are tired of being hunted like prey.”
On June 27th, officers killed Walker; however, the footage was recently released on July 3rd, six days later.
Numerous shots were fired at Walker; it is unclear how many times officers attempted to shoot him; however, Walker sustained over 60 wounds from the eight officers. Officers continued to fire at Walker while he was lying helpless on the ground.
Protests in Akron Police amidst release of bodycam
In the video, multiple armed officers approach Walker’s car on foot as the vehicle hits a curb and goes on the sidewalk. Then, a visibly unarmed person wearing a ski mask exits from the passenger door and runs toward the parking lot. Police chase the suspect for approximately 10 seconds before firing from several directions, with the shots lasting for six to seven seconds.
The murder of Jayland Walker is the most recent among various shootings of unarmed young Black men by police, resulting in people all over the world protesting and discussing the issue of racism in the criminal justice system.
On Sunday night, protesters flooded the Akron streets, seeking justice and demanding answers from the police department over Walker’s death. A mostly peaceful march took place on Sunday, ending at Akron’s Justice Center, when officials began firing teargas into the crowds.
“We had several peaceful protests in the downtown footprint related to the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker. These protests did not escalate to violence and destruction… However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests no longer became peaceful,” Dan Horrigan, mayor of Akron, stated
“As a result, there was significant property damage done to downtown Akron. Small businesses up and down Main Street have had their windows broken. We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence.”
Curfew in Akron
As of Monday, Akron police have issued a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 am. After hearing about the destruction of property and damage to small businesses, Walker’s family urged protesters to remain peaceful in future protests or marches.
Inside Walker’s vehicle, officials found a handgun, a loaded magazine, and a wedding ring. They also found a weapon in the location where police believe Walker fired a shot at them.
“The tragic killing of Jayland Walker once again underscores just how deeply dysfunctional and discriminatory America’s system of policing continues to be,” Janai S Nelson, Legal Defense Fund, said about Walker’s death. “As we understand them, the facts and video footage in Mr. Walker’s death gives us significant pause about the legality of the officers’ conduct.”