AKRON, Ohio — The family of Jayland Walker hosted a press conference Monday, laying out details of a community unity gathering, and a public funeral service set to take place over the next couple days.

Walker, 25, was unarmed when he was fatally wounded by Akron police Monday, June 27, following a car and foot chase.

What You Need To Know

  • The family of Jayland Walker hosted a press conference Monday, laying out details of the funeral and a unity gathering

  • Walker was a 25-year-old Black man who was unarmed when he was fatally wounded by Akron police

  • Jayland Walker's public funeral is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 at the Akron Civic Theatre

  • Attorney Bobby DiCello said the city is portraying Walker “as someone he was not”

The unity gathering will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12 at the Remedy Church, 1700 Brittain Road in Akron.

A public viewing will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, prior to the public funeral, which will begin at 1 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre, at 182 S. Main St. in downtown Akron.

Attorney Bobby DiCello, who led the press conference, said the city must “stop the blame game.”

“The presentation of the video that we saw on Sunday during the chief’s press conference was an attempt to frame Jayland as someone he was not, and the ongoing rhetoric about that must stop,” DeCello said. “It is precisely what the community does not want. It is precisely what will endanger this community because the community is hurting right now.”

DiCello was referring to the police body-worn camera video the city released to the community on Sunday, July 3.

Walker was fatally wounded by police after he led them on a four-minute car chase during which police said Walker fired a gun at the officers in pursuit, escalating the situation.

When the chase ended, Walker got out of his vehicle in a parking lot unarmed. It is still unclear what happened in that moment that caused eight police officers to shoot, striking Walker roughly 60 times.

When the city released the video, several still shots were captured, with one showing Walker wearing a ski mask as he exited his still-rolling vehicle.  

The day after the release of the police video, Monday, July 4, saw the most destructive protests in the city, with windows and doors of at least 20 downtown businesses smashed out, dumpsters set on fire and planters overturned.

Through DiCello, the Walker family has repeatedly asked demonstrators to protest peacefully.

During Monday’s press conference, DiCello again echoed those sentiments but said the family encourages protests, and wants residents to exercise their First Amendment rights.

“And today, we want the entire world to know that expressing your pain and your anger about what happened can be nonviolent and can support justice for Jayland,” he said.

DiCello said, although Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett have spoken privately with the Walkers, he wants the city to apologize publicly.

“We think a public apology is warranted. We do. Because if you can say it to us quietly, why can't you say it publicly?” he said.

DiCello also criticized Horrigan’s comments during the city’s first daily briefing on the Walker shooting, which took place earlier Monday.

During the briefing, Horrigan said he supports peaceful protests in the city but would not tolerate threats made against himself and his family.

DiCello said he also has received threats.

“Let's make this very clear — we do not take lightly these threats and we do not encourage them in any way,” he said. “But they are not and ought not to be the focus. Again, the city misses the point. It's about changing this violent community into a more peaceful place for all its citizens. That's what it should be about.”

The city has come under fire for the way police have handled protesters at demonstrations, which have taken place daily since July 3. In one video, an Akron officer is seen punching a protester with a closed fist.

That protester was in Akron alongside Jacob Blake Sr. whose son Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police in 2020 and is now partially paralyzed.

During the Akron protest, the elder Blake said he was hospitalized after being beaten by police.

“We've seen protesters with bloodied faces. We know about tear gas, we know about people walking and being accosted by police. And we understand that they've used as an excuse at times the foul language that's been used against them,” he said.

That behavior has to stop, DiCello said. The community is grieving, and the city and the police need to let people protest peacefully without being struck or bloodied.

The Walker family will announce at a later date the need for independent prosecution of the shooting, DiCello said.

Currently, the Ohio Attorney General Bureau of Criminal Justice is investigating the shooting, at the city of Akron’s request. The city said it is also working with the U.S Department of Justice.