Akron Cops Shot Unarmed Black Man Dozens of Times, Body Cam Footage Shows

Police say they stopped Jayland Walker for a traffic violation before chasing him and gunning him down.
Jayland Walker protest
Eight cops shot Jayland Walker dozens of times last week. Photo by Matthew Hatcher/ AFP via Getty Images and screenshot via Akron police.

Eight Akron, Ohio police officers have been placed on paid leave after body camera footage was released showing them chasing and gunning down an unarmed Black man. 

Police killed Jayland Walker, 25, in the early morning hours of June 27, after attempting to stop him for traffic and equipment violations. Walker continued driving as police pursued him in their cars and then on foot after Walker got out of the passenger side of his car. 

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On Sunday evening, police released 13 body-worn camera videos. The graphic footage shows police firing dozens of rounds at Walker while running after him; even after his body falls to the ground, officers continue to fire at him, causing him to flip over multiple times. 

Jayland Walker protest

Hundreds of people protested in Akron, Ohio following the release of body camera footage showing police killing Jayland Walker.Photo by Matthew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images

The police force has called on the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the shooting. 

Walker’s family’s lawyer Bobby DiCello said he believes Walker was shot at least 60 times. 

“It was an unbelievable amount of gunfire,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal. 

DiCello also contested police’s claims that Walker turned to police and motioned with his hands in a way that may have made him appear armed. 

“There's no making his hand into the shape of a gun. There's no holding his cellphone. He has nothing in his hands,” DiCello said. 

Images released by the cops show a gun in the driver’s seat of Walker’s car, which police say was accompanied by a loaded magazine.  

In a press conference Sunday, Akron police chief Steve Mylett said he didn’t know the exact number of rounds officers discharged, but “a lot of rounds were fired.” 

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He said the medical examiner’s report found more than 60 wounds in Walker’s body. 

Mylett said the incident went from a routine traffic stop to “a public safety issue.” He added officers “diligently provided first aid to save his life” after they shot Walker. He said paramedics then arrived and took over and Walker died on scene. 

Seven of the eight officers who fired at Walker were white and one was Black, according to the Washington Post.

Walker was handcuffed and on his back when a medical examiner arrived on scene, with wounds in his face, abdomen, and upper legs, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

The footage released by police was narrated to include the cops’ version of events. Police tried to stop Walker around 12:30 a.m. on the morning of June 27. They claim Walker “refused to stop” and cops initiated the vehicle pursuit. 

Police allege 40 seconds after they attempted to stop Walker, “the sound of a gunshot is audible on officers’ (body-worn camera) videos” and that a flash of light also came from the driver’s side of Walker’s car. 

Mylett said officers will need to justify “what specific threats they were facing, and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun.” 

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The Akron chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents police officers, said in a statement it believes the officers’ actions were “justified.” 

On Sunday night, following days of peaceful protests, some vandalism broke out. Some people in the crowd threw water bottles at a local courthouse, while video posted to Twitter shows a man being told to leave, seemingly after trying to take down a street sign. 

Cops tear gassed the crowd, and one person started breaking the windows of snowplows that had blocked off one of the streets,  according to the Akron Beacon Journal

Walker’s family released a statement calling for peaceful protests.

"Jayland would have wanted us to channel our anger into peaceful, thoughtful action that can bring long-term change and reform," the statement said, CBS news reports. 

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The city has cancelled Fourth of July celebrations and imposed a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

DiCello told the Akron Beacon Journal that Walker, a full-time DoorDash employee, has never been in trouble or hurt anyone. 

“In my 22 years of doing trial work, both as a former prosecutor for Cuyahoga County and as a civil rights attorney on many serious cases of lethal use of force, I have never in my life seen anything like this, ever. It is very, very disturbing,” he said. 

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.