AKRON, Ohio — As the city of Akron braces for the release of video footage of a fatal officer-involved shooting on Monday, the grieving family of 25-year-old Jayland Walker is asking the community to remain peaceful, said the family’s attorney Bobby DiCello.
Walker was slain by police following a traffic stop that turned into a chase, police said.
What You Need To Know
- The family of 25-year-old Jayland Walker is asking the community to remain peaceful
- The city said police will release body-worn video footage of the incident on Monday that left Walker dead
- It’s unclear why Walker, a young Black man with no prior offenses, fled from Akron Police
- Walker graduated from Buchtel High School in 2015 and had recently lost his finance to a hit-skip accident
“We are urging that when the video is released and visible, we are urging peace and dignity and justice,” DiCello said. “Peace, dignity and justice for Jayland. That’s our message.”
DiCello, an attorney with DiCello Levitt Gutzler, said he’s seen the police-video footage although Walker’s mother and sister, Pamela and Jada Walker, have not.
“Suffice it to say, the city’s concerns are so grave in light of the video and what it shows that they have, as you know, put snow plows in front of the streets that lead to the police station, and they have darkened streets and cancelled all Fourth of July activities,” he said.
It’s unclear why Walker, a young Black man with no prior offenses, fled from Akron police, who said in a report officers were trying to conduct a traffic stop. But that action sparked a chain of events that left Walker dead in an Akron parking lot, shot at 90 times, and struck least 60 times, DiCello said.
“Given what I’ve seen in the record publicly to date, everything seems accurate,” he said. “There’s been no real exaggeration you know. There were really 90 shots.”
What is known is that Walker graduated from Buchtel High School in 2015, where he was a wrestler. He had worked for Amazon and was employed by Door Dash, DiCello said.
Walker enjoyed the freedom of driving so much he was considering starting his own delivery business, DiCello said. He was close to his family and regularly spent time with his mother.
“He was a gentle soul,” he said. “This was completely out of character for him.”
Walker had suffered a major setback recently when his fiancé, Jaymeisha Beasley, was killed in a hit-and-run car accident outside Cincinnati, DiCello said.
“There was no evidence at all, no indication to the family prior to this tragic event, that any of the pain of losing his fiancée was what motivated this,” he said.
Some answers could come when the city releases the police body-worn camera footage of the incident, which it said it will do Sunday.
Akron outfitted all police officers with body-worn cameras in 2017. In 2021, Akron City Council passed a law that requires video footage to be released within seven days for any use-of-force incident.
Under that law, if more than one camera was in play during the event, the footage released must include at least three camera angles, and all footage of the incident must be released within 30 days, the city said.
In a joint statement, earlier this week, Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett reassured the community the city would comply.
“We are keeping our promise to the community, understanding that there can be no trust without transparency and follow through on commitment,” the statement read.
Still, much about the incident remains unclear.
Akron police said the altercation started at 12:30 a.m. on June 27 when officers tried to stop Walker for a traffic violation in the city’s North Hill neighborhood.
Officials said Walker refused to stop, and instead got onto State Route 8 going south. A chase ensured for the next several minutes. Police reported a gun was fired from the vehicle during the chase.
Walker then got off the highway and jumped out of the vehicle while it was still moving at the intersection of East Wilbeth Road and Clairmont Street, and he was chased on foot to the Bridgestone Americas Technology Center Parking lot, police said.
The police report states, “Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them. In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
What those actions were are unknown. It is still unclear if Walker was armed during the time of the incident.
The investigation is now being led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.