Will officers of Jayland Walker’s shooting death answer investigators’ questions?
AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - It has now been a week since the Akron police-involved shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker.
As of the weekend, it was clear that the officers had not yet answered the questions of investigators.
Walker was killed following a chase that began as officers tried to make a traffic stop, but Walker fled onto Route 8 southbound.
Akron Police point to Ohio Department of Transportation cameras and audio from officers’ body-worn cameras as evidence that Walker fired a shot as he tried to outrun police.
When Walker got out of his car and tried to run, officers initially fired tasers at Walker, but when that did not stop him, eight officers opened fire and killed him in a parking lot in the Firestone Park neighborhood.
According to police, all eight officers were interviewed immediately after the shooting and all told a similar story, that Walker appeared to turn and make a motion that the officers perceived as threatening - and that’s when they fired.
While a gun was found in his car, Walker was unarmed when he was shot.
As for when officers may answer questions, Henry Hilow, a Cleveland attorney who has been involved in multiple high-profile cases involving officer-involved shootings said the officers have the same constitutional rights as anyone else.
“They don’t have to make a comment at all, that can be used against them in any type of criminal investigation or criminal proceeding,” he said.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the case and a spokesperson, when we asked if any of the officers had agreed to answer questions, said that was a question they would not be answering.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said over the weekend that it was his understanding that the officers had not yet been interviewed by Ohio BCI, but he was under the impression the officers were going to cooperate.
“My understanding from the union president is that they are going to fully cooperate with this investigation,” the chief said.
Hilow said an investigation like this takes time and the public will have to have patience.
“So this is a long process and I know people want answers immediately, but just like when you go to the doctors, you don’t feel well, you want the answers, but they have to do the tests, that’s why we have to practice restraint and let the investigators do their job,” he said.
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