Ohio police release footage showing shooting of Jayland Walker

Officials release body cam footage of the US killing of the unarmed Black man, who reportedly suffered as many as 60 wounds.

Jayland Walker
Lawyer Bobby DiCello holds up a photograph of Jayland Walker, who was fatally shot by police in Akron, Ohio in the United States [File: Jeff Lange/USA Today Network via Reuters]

Police released videos on Sunday showing eight officers involved in a shooting that killed an unarmed Black man who fled a traffic stop on June 27 in the city of Akron in the US state of Ohio.

At a news conference, police played multiple videos, one of which they said shows a gunshot being fired from the car driven by Jayland Walker, 25, who was being pursued by officers.

Walker jumped out of the car and ran away from police, the video showed. Police say it appears he was turning towards officers, who at the time believed he was armed. A gun was later recovered from his car.

Walker was shot approximately 90 times, according to the attorney for the Walker family, Bobby DiCello. An initial autopsy showed that he had 60 gunshot wounds on his body after he was pronounced dead in the parking lot where he fell.

DiCello had cautioned that the video was “brutal”, in comments published on Saturday by the Akron Beacon Journal. He said Walker’s relatives are worried that protests could turn violent.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation will lead the probe of police use of force.

The shooting was the latest in a spate of killings of Black men by law enforcement in the United States that critics say are racist and unjustified, including the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis that ignited global protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

“We’re all bracing for the community’s response, and the one message that we have is the family does not need any more violence,” DiCello said.

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, the Akron police department said.

Authorities have said Walker fled an early morning traffic stop and that officers reported a gun being fired from Walker’s vehicle, from which he ran before he was fatally shot in a nearby parking lot.

The death sparked small protests in Akron beginning on Wednesday, with many likening the incident to several high-profile police killings of Black people in the US in recent years.

The national anger reached a fever pitch following the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One officer has since been convicted of murder in that incident and three others were convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Walker’s aunt, Lajuana Walker-Dawkins, told reporters: “Jayland was a sweet young man; he never caused any trouble.”

During a protest on Saturday, Jazzimine Beasley, the sister of Walker’s fiance who died in a car crash last month, called for accountability.

“This was my brother,” she told the Beacon Journal. “I’m here to get justice. I’m just so angry.”

Roderick Pounds Sr, the pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Akron, said he had also been permitted to view body camera footage of the killing prior to its public release and said it did not show Walker posing a threat to the officers before he was shot.

He called the video “shocking” and said the killing was like a “massacre”.

“It’s barbaric,” Pounds said in an interview with local television station WEWS-TV.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies