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Walker’s shooting prompted days of protests throughout the country, drawing activists such as Bianca Austin, Breonna Taylor’s Aunt, and Jacob Blake Sr., father of Jacob Blake Jr., to speak up.
After Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake Jr. did not receive proper justice, both participated in protests for Jayland Walker, in hopes that the Walker family would get the accountability they never obtained.
Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot at least seven times, as officers raided her apartment looking for drugs on March 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment and the family attorney stated that she was not involved in her ex-boyfriend’s supposed drug deals. Hankison, the officer who blindly fired through the door and window, was fired from the police department, while the two other officials, Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not charged.
Jacob Blake Jr., a 29-year-old Black man was shot in the back seven times by white police officer, Rusten Sheskey. He was left paralyzed from the waist down. The incident occurred on August 3, 2020, outside of an apartment complex in Kenosha, Wisconsin. However, officials decided not to press charges against Sheskey, after officers say they found a knife in Blake’s vehicle and that he was wanted for a felony warrant.
Jayland Walker protests
Two years later, police have killed more African Americans, like Jayland Walker. His death reminds individuals of all those innocent Black lives taken before him such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Trayvon Martin, who never received justice. Therefore, nationwide protests occur not only to honor Walker, but to demand change for all the Black lives lost in the hands of police officials.
Austin and Blake traveled together to Akron through Families United, a group seeking awareness for police brutality and shootings.
They were sitting together in a van when they witnessed police punch a man in the face during the protest. Seeing police brutality in full effect, both of them got out of the vehicle to question the officer, before other police arrived at the scene.
Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake Jr., said “They were down there supporting the family and the community when the thing occurred and when the brutality turned on them.”
During the protest, officials arrested Austin and booked her on charges for rioting, disorderly conduct, and failure to disperse. She posted a $2,500 bond on Thursday afternoon.
After Blake and another man were blocking the intersection, officials charged both men with four misdemeanors: including rioting, resisting arrest, failure to disperse, and disorderly conduct.
Akron police under fire
Blake was taken to the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center, while the other man was headed to the Summit County Jail. On Thursday, a warrant was issued for Blake’s arrest.
Both Austin and Blake told demonstrators who they were, with Blake saying he is the father of Jacob Blake Jr. and Austin the aunt of Breonna Taylor.
Attempting to disperse the crowd, officials deployed tear gas and watched as protestors began fleeing from the scene. Almost 100 people were transported to the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center.
After protestors blocked Wabash Avenue, the hospital went on lockdown, making it challenging for patients to access the emergency room.
Walker’s death has sparked major controversy, placing the Akron Police Department in headlines all over the world. However, tear gas and other attempts by police officers to end protests will likely not diminish the objective of protesters fighting for change.