Akron businesses prepare for more protests ahead of body camera release

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:28 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - A normally busy holiday weekend was canceled in Akron as people continue to take to the streets.

On Friday night there were still some people protesting, but besides that, downtown Akron was pretty much a ghost town.

25-year-old Jayland Walker was shot to death by Akron police officers on Monday, and for the past two days the community has been in the streets, demanding answers from police.

“We had some protests down here yesterday but I feel like it’s rightfully so just for the fact that I feel like the city of Akron, the mayor, the police chief have really been sitting on what they know is the real facts and I think Sunday will tell what really happened and we’ll just go from there and see,” said Jerrod Alexander, Beer Wall Coordinator at Twisted Tomato.

Police say the DoorDash driver refused to stop when officers tried to pull him over, which led to a high-speed chase during which police said Walker fired out of his car at them.

Eventually, the young man jumped out of his car and police began chasing him on foot.

Police sources tell 19 News the officers fired dozens and dozens of shots at the 25-year-old.

On Thursday, the city of Akron announced that the Rib, White, and Blue Festival scheduled from July 1st to the 4th had been canceled with the mayor saying, “I strongly feel like this is no time for a city-led celebration.”

“We were supposed to have shows this weekend and just like everybody else we had to cancel them because we wouldn’t make any revenue from them,” said William Abbott, server at Barley House. “There would be nobody to see the shows so it unfortunate we can’t have those shows this weekend.”

Abbott said this is usually a huge weekend for them.

“Ridiculously slow, ridiculously slow,” Abbott said. “I mean we were expecting to be like panicky busy today like I came into work today and I was like, ‘Yo where’s everybody at?’ They’re like, ‘You shouldn’t have even came in today man.’”

One restaurant told 19 News their bar is open for now, but they have to close their kitchen for the weekend because they didn’t order any food, expecting everyone to be eating ribs.

Jerrod Alexander with Twisted Tomato said at this point they plan on staying open all weekend, but that could change with everyone waiting with bated breath for the body camera footage to be released on Sunday.

“We’re just kind of like rolling with the motions and seeing what happens and just going from there,” said Alexander. “I hope the city doesn’t totally go like crazy with that. I hope it’s a peaceful protest, but I am all about protesting. I know some stuff is probably gonna happen when that body camera footage come out.”

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