Use of force expert weighs in on deadly police involved Akron shooting

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:43 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - People across Northeast Ohio are on edge following an officer involved shooting that killed a 25-year-old Akron man.

The question on everyone’s mind: Did police go overboard? Or were the officers’ actions justified?

We won’t have the answer until the body camera video is released in the next few days.

“This is not a monster, this is not a man who ever caught a crime in his life,” said the family’s attorney, Bobby DiCello.

Early Monday morning, police tried to stop 25-year-old Jayland Walker for a traffic violation.

They said Walker took off, and fired at police as he sped down route eight.

Walker later jumped out of his car, starting a foot chase, police said, which led them to feeling threatened and shooting him.

Tim Barfield, the Wellington police chief, teaches use of force nationally.

He referred to a Supreme Court case, Graham vs. Connor, which says use of force is judged from an officer’s perspective.

“Multiple officers were on the scene, fired their weapons and all perceived a threat,” Barfield said. “What we do know about the case is that there was a chase. There were reports of shots fired at police, so police believed that they were under attack and that when they encountered the suspect in this case, they all perceived a threat which at least from what we know so far, seems to fall within the guidelines of Graham vs. Connor.”

Sources tell 19 News Walker was shot dozens and dozens of times.

Barfield said that doesn’t necessarily mean the officers went overboard.

“Under the law what’s judged is the force that was used was it reasonable at the time,” explained Barfield. “You have to understand with semiautomatic weapons, pistols that the officers carry, firing 5 or 6 rounds in quick succession when they feel a threat before them it’s very easy to go through that many rounds. It potentially could not be unreasonable to fire that many rounds because each one of those officers are taking action.”

In the meantime, Walker’s family is heartbroken and desperate for answers.

“Jayland was a sweet young man, he never caused any trouble,” said Walker’s aunt, LaJuana Walker Dawkins.

The eight officers involved in this deadly shooting were placed on paid administrative leave.

Walker’s attorney said police could be releasing the body camera video within the next 24 hours.

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