Akron police say black driver was unarmed when officers fatally shot him

Police in Akron, Ohio have released footage showing the moments leading up to the death of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old black man who was fatally shot by eight officers after fleeing an attempted arrest traffic last Monday.

Authorities released body camera footage of two officers at a press conference on Sunday, while confirming that Walker was unarmed when he was shot.

Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett described the footage, which Walker’s body was blurred out at the request of his family, as “hard to watch” and “shocking”.

Body camera footage, captured just after midnight on June 27, shows a police officer following Walker’s car during a high-speed chase. Police can be heard reporting a “sound of gunfire” coming from the door of the suspect’s car. During the press conference, police also showed still images taken by surveillance cameras which they say show a flash coming from Walker’s car window during the chase.

Footage eventually shows the car slowing down until Walker jumps out of the vehicle wearing what appears to be a ski mask. As seen in the footage, the officers begin to pursue Walker, who appears to be looking over his shoulder, and the officers open fire.

Mylett said Walker appeared to reach for his belt and turned toward the officers, prompting them to open fire.

While authorities say Walker was unarmed when he was shot, police presented footage of a handgun they said they found in Walker’s car, along with a loaded magazine and a golden wedding ring.

Disclaimer: The images below are graphic.

Autopsy records show Walked had more than 60 wounds on his body. Mylett said the Bureau of Criminal Investigations is working to confirm the number of shots fired at the 25-year-old.

Mylett said officers immediately began providing first aid to Walker after the shooting. According to records from the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office obtained by the Akron Beacon Journal, a medical examiner arrived at the scene of the shooting Monday and found Walker lying on his back in handcuffs.

Officials say the fatal incident began after officers attempted to arrest Walker for a traffic violation and an equipment violation. The officers involved in the shooting are currently on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure exercised when lethal force is used. Seven of the eight officers who shot Walker are white, according to WKYC-TV.

At a press conference after the police footage became public, Walker’s family attorney Bobby DiCello accused police of trying to “turn him into a masked monster with a weapon. to fire” and pointed out that Walker was unarmed when he was shot.

“It was absolutely excessive,” DiCello said when asked by a reporter about the number of shots allegedly fired at Walker. “The law requires you to use reasonable force.”

Mylett said Sunday the officers involved had to explain their actions and thought processes on the night of the shooting.

“When an officer makes the most critical decision of his life, he must be prepared to explain why he did what he did,” Mylett explained. They must be able to articulate the specific threats they face…and they must be held accountable.

In the aftermath of the shooting, there were protests across Akron. In response to community outrage over Walker’s death, Akron has canceled its July 4 events, including the city’s annual Rib, White, & Blue festival.

Lakers superstar and Akron native LeBron James said he’ll be “praying for my city today” on Twitter.

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