Akron Police procedure dictates how to respond to in-custody death, serious injury

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 8:53 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The investigation into the police shooting death of Jayland Walker in Akron has now stretched past one week.

19 Investigates is taking a look at what happens in the minutes and hours after a person dies in police custody.

We got a hold of Akron Police’s policy and procedure for handling in-custody deaths and serious injury investigations.

It is seven pages long, full of vital information on procedure to be taken.

19 Investigates learned the police’s “investigative subdivision” must conduct a “prompt and thorough” investigation when someone dies or is seriously injured under an officer’s watch.

One of the first things we found listed under procedure is officers are told to secure the scene, and then render first aid.

It appears this did happen in Walker’s case, and explains why police apparently handcuffed Walker first as he laid on the ground, before giving him first aid.

Officers were following procedure.

According to our review of the medical examiner’s preliminary notes, there were multiple “tactical tourniquets” found on Walker’s body.

Also in these documents, we found when an in-custody death happens, officers are read a directive by the officer-in-charge, saying in part: “I advise you not to discuss this incident with anyone.”

It’s also noted all body cameras must be turned over to investigators.

The detective supervisor determines the firearm make and model of any officer’s weapon fired.

Police are also to “preserve fingerprint and DNA evidence” out of sight of the public.

The number of rounds in the magazines are inspected and documented, as well as any firearms involved.

Ohio BCI is then brought in to process the crime scene, if possible.

Then, officers involved are asked to do a “voluntary walk-through” of the scene, giving investigators a “general briefing” of what happened.

Officers are allowed representation from the Fraternal Order of Police and the manual states “this is not meant to be an interrogation.”

Akron’s policy states officers “may cooperate with the criminal investigation” but they’re “under no legal requirement to do so.”

It’s policy for officers involved with an in-custody death to be placed on administrative leave with pay.

The police chief decides when or if officers return to duty.

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