AKRON, Ohio — In the wake of the police shooting of Jayland Walker, groups around the city are weighed in on what happened and what should happen next.

Walker was killed by police June 27 after the 25-year-old Black man led officers on a car and foot chase, shooting at officers in pursuit, police said. The chase ended with Walker dead in an Akron parking lot, fired upon by eight officers who shot multiple rounds.

What You Need To Know

  • Akron groups weighed in on the death of Jayland Walker, and making demands they want the city to meet

  • Walker was killed by police June 27 after he led them on a car and foot chase in Akron

  • The Criminal Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation and will open the final case file to the public

  • The Freedom Bloc, Serve the People Akron and Akron Democratic Socialists of America said protesters will continue until demands are met

The city has simmered with tension since video of the shooting was released, with groups hosting marches and protests daily, some becoming violent and destructive.

Protests Wednesday night only served to further inflame the city. Video widely circulating on social media depicted an Akron officer punching a Black man who is being taken into custody.

State and local investigations into the shooting are underway. Activist groups said they have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to also investigate.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued a seven-minute video statement Wednesday informing the Akron community the Criminal Bureau of Investigation will conduct an extensive review, which will be transparent. The city of Akron requested the BCI lead the investigation.

On average, a police shooting takes a minimum of 400 hours to investigate, Yost said. The final case file will be open to the public.

“We will move this investigation forward as quickly as we can. But we're going to do it right,” he said. “And you will be able to judge yourself that we have left nothing out.”

Akron businesses were damaged during Sunday night protests over the police shooting of Jayland Walker. (Jennifer Conn/Spectrum News 1)

On Thursday, following another night of protests ending in arrests, a group of activist organizations held a press conference to issue a list of demands.

The Freedom Bloc (Freedom Black Led Organizing Collaborative), Serve the People Akron and Akron Democratic Socialists of America, all called for accountability by the Akron Police Department.  

“Residents of Akron and surrounding communities are being hurt and are dying,” the groups wrote. “The local police have waged war on peaceful protesters and innocent neighbors. It is the police who have escalated at every step.”

The groups said until their demands are met, protesters will be in the streets.

“We will not stop seeking accountability for the injustices committed against Jayland Walker and the organizers of Akron,” the groups wrote. “We are not leaving until we see justice.”

The list of demands include:

  • Development of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Committee to investigate Jayland Walker’s death
  • Prosecution of all officers involved
  • Release of all peaceful protestors from all jails and holding institutions

The statement is available online along with a petition. The petition, Justice for Jayland Walker!, is addressed to Mayor Dan Horrigan, City Council President Margo Sommerville and Police Chief Steve Mylett.

The document asks for “12 points of action” that bring justice for Walker, protection for protestors and demilitarization of police, the groups said.

Akron City Council distributed a statement Thursday expressing sympathy for Walker’s family and enumerating the legislative changes already taken place that were designed to promote racial equity in Akron.

Council commended the city for engaging BCI to lead the investigation, called it an “unprecedented response.”

“This was the right thing to do, and we believe, should become standard practice in such circumstances,” the statement said.

Among legislation the city has passed since 2014 to help build trust between police and residents were ordinances that outfitted police with body-worn cameras and called for the release of police body-cam footage within seven days of an incident in which excessive force is used, council wrote.

Council also passed a law prohibiting police from using a choke or neck hold, following the murder of George Floyd in by Minneapolis police in 2020.

Protesters in Akron are asking the city for justice for Jayland Walker and protection for protesters. (Jennifer Conn/Spectrum News 1)