Protestors react to bodycam footage of Akron police-involved shooting of Jayland Walker
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Protesters in Akron watched the release of bodycam footage from the night Jayland Walker was shot dozens of times by Akron Police officers and killed and were filled with outrage and tears.
In the gut-wrenching video, you see and hear a hail of gunfire from police that lasted for seven seconds, when the shooting was over the Akron man was dead.
What began as an attempted traffic stop and chase resulted in officers shooting and killing the man and protesters had strong words from the images caught on camera.
One man with at least three other armed Black Panthers told 19 News, “That was murder. They (police) lying. They shot him while he was running. He was running away from them. That was murder.”
But, the backlash and protests demanding police accountability didn’t end there.
Hundreds in at least three marches and protests took a stand on Akron streets.
The city was thrust into the national spotlight, in the midst of the police controversy that has led to eight Akron Police officers being put on leave as Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called in to investigate.
Sandra Dees of Akron burst into tears after watching the video.
She says her son was killed in Sugarland, Texas by police, allegedly shot in the back of the head, the video in her case has never been released.
“I’m bitter, I’m angry and I’m hurt, it’s not fair. Animals are not treated like that. My heart goes out to Jayland Walker’s family.”
What was likely the largest protest and march on Sunday was held by the NAACP, hundreds marched to the steps of city hall, many yelling out, “Where’s the Mayor?”
Judi Hill, the President of Akron’s NAACP told those gathered, “This ain’t got nothing to do with color, it has to do with what’s right. This is about what’s human.”
Doctor Phyllis DeHart, a local pastor told 19 News, “Things have got to change. This is 2022. I’m 70 years old and I refuse to keep seeing Black bloodshed.”
Walker’s aunt, Minnie, who stopped at the NAACP’s rally, urged the crowd to keep saying her nephew’s name, but do it in peace and with dignity, “We don’t show creditability if we don’t do it right.”
Reverend Ray Green from Freedom Bloc then called for the indictment of the 8 officers currently on leave in the case, once the investigation is completed.
Among his organization’s other demands, they are asking for the resignation of Akron Safety Director Charles Brown.
A moment in time that has devastated a family, taken a life, and put the police under the microscope, and local Black leaders say it’s now important to focus on answers, justice and what’s next.
“Don’t you dare let this moment go by without making sure real change happens in our city,” NAACP President, Judi Hill said.
The organization that is working with the ACLU and Ohio’s Poverty Law Center is also calling for a Justice Department investigation into the case.
As night fell, cars broke through the barricades and dumpsters were set on fire.
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