Akron community members react to 3rd officer-involved shooting since June

Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 10:50 PM EDT

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Akron police are defending their actions after Saturday night’s officer-involved shooting. The latest shooting happened on Sept. 3 when a teenager, allegedly holding a gun, was shot in the hand.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) now is investigating its third shooting by an Akron police officer since the death of Jayland Walker.

Walker was shot on June 27 by police in Akron’s Firestone Park.

The second officer-involved shooting surrounded a 21-year-old woman that allegedly shot another woman in a bar on July 29.

All of this is playing out just days after new bombshell allegations in the Walker case that include police turning off their body cameras, to officers allegedly beating non-violent protesters.

The Akron community is still trying to heal as they wait for the outcome of that investigation and some, including one of Walker’s relatives, are still questioning why there are so many police shootings in the city.

Franklin Ragsdale, who has stood by the Walker family, is angry after hearing about Saturday night’s police shooting.

“For me it’s outrage,” Ragsdale said. “It’s unfortunate that another young kid was shot. It’s another terrible example of Akron policing.”

Akron officers heard a series of gunshots while on patrol in the area of Manchester and Longview. Officers that immediately went to check it out came face to face with a group of young males behind a home in the 700 block of Longview Avenue.

Police say a 16-year-old had a gun in his hand, and one of their officers fired a shot, striking the teen in hand. He was treated for non-life threatening injuries and is expected to face charges.

Lt. Michael Miller with the Akron Police Department told 19 News that while he understands the community has concerns anytime there’s a police shooting, he says in this case the issue is guns in the hands of kids.

According to police not only was the 16-year-old armed with a gun. Several other guns were recovered nearby, and other young males taken in for questioning.

“We want the community to be as safe as possible and the officers didn’t want to find themselves in a situation like this and now a young man, made a poor choice to pickup a firearm. And I might add that there were several firearms recovered from the scene,” Miller told 19 News.

Saturday’s police shooting is the third in the city of Akron since June, including the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker by police, after a chase where officers allege Walker fired at them from his car. Dozens of shots were fired and eight officers are on paid administrative leave, awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

Demetrius Travis, Jayland Walker’s cousin, said the police shootings have to stop and he’s determined to clear the name of his loved one and honor his memory.

“We’re going to keep having this happen in this system that we’re up under,” Travis said. “We’re up under a racist system let’s just put it out there. And until we change that system, we’re going to continue to always have police killing unarmed, or whether they are armed or not.”

A local activist, who asked not to be identified, said the community wouldn’t rest until the results of the state’s investigation are released and questions are answered. “We want justice and we’re not going to stop,” she said. “Continue to build community, continue to educate people on going out to vote to change some of these policies when it comes to policing in our community.”