By Matthew Hatcher
Several hundred protesters marched Sunday in Akron, Ohio after the release of body camera footage that showed police fatally shooting a Black man with several dozen rounds of bullets.
As anger rose over the latest police killing of a Black man in the United States, and authorities appealed for calm, a crowd marched to City Hall carrying banners with slogans such as “Justice for Jayland.”
The slogan refers to Jayland Walker, 25, who was killed Monday after officers tried to stop his car over a traffic violation, police said.
Sunday marked the fourth straight day of protests. Demonstrations were peaceful but for a tense moment in which some protesters got close to a line of police and shouted at them.
After the first rally, a crowd of people remained in the street protesting as evening fell but it was in a less organized fashion. There were no reports of violence.
But fearing unrest, authorities in the city of 190,000 people moved snowplows and other heavy equipment near the police department to serve as a barrier.
After initially providing few details of the shooting, Akron authorities released two videos Sunday: one that was a compilation of body-camera footage, body-cam still frames and voiceover, and another of the complete body-cam footage of the entire chase and shooting.
The voiceover explained that Walker did not stop and drove off. Police engaged in a car chase and said a shot had been fired from Walker’s vehicle.
After being chased for several minutes, Walker got out of his car while it was still moving and fled on foot. Officers tried to subdue him with their tasers, but he kept running.
Several officers finally chased Walker to a parking lot. The body-cam footage is too blurry to see clearly what happens, but an initial police statement released after the shooting says he behaved in a way that caused officers to believe he posed a “deadly threat.”
‘Over 60 wounds’ to body
All of the officers at the scene opened fire on Walker, shooting multiple times in rapid succession.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident was the latest death of an African-American citizen at the hands of police, events that have sparked mass protests over racism and police brutality.
“Many will wish to air their grievances in public, and I fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble,” Akron mayor Dan Horrigan told a press conference, saying he was “heartbroken” over the events.
“But I hope the community can agree that violence and destruction are not the answer.”
He also said an independent investigation was being conducted.
Bobby DiCello, a lawyer for the Walker family, told The New York Times: “I’ve been a trial lawyer for 22 years and I’ve never seen anything remotely close to what that video is going to show.”
Police chief Steve Mylett said he didn’t know the exact number of bullets fired at Walker, but the medical examiner’s report “indicates over 60 wounds to Mr. Walker’s body.”
He added that the eight officers involved in Walker’s death have been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete.
Authorities canceled a festival planned for the July 4th weekend.
Basketball star LeBron James, an Akron native, said in a tweet Sunday he was praying for his city.