Officials on Monday set a 9 p.m. curfew for downtown Akron, Ohio, and canceled a major July 4 celebration following protests over the police fatal shooting of Black man Jayland Walker. Police on Sunday released officers’ body camera footage of the June 27 shooting. Mayor Dan Horrigan commended protesters for their “peaceful” demonstration that followed.
“However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful,” he said in a statement. “There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron.”
Small businesses up and down Main Street were damaged, the mayor said. “In light of the damage that has occurred and in order to preserve peace in our community, I have declared a state of emergency, implemented a curfew and canceled the fireworks which were scheduled for tonight,” Horrigan said while announcing the 9 pm-6am curfew. The curfew would be in effect until further notice, he said.
Eight police officers, who are now on administrative leave, shot Walker in the early morning of June 27 after he jumped out of his car and fled, officials said.
Police said officers had tried to stop Walker’s car at about 12:30 am for an unspecified traffic violation but Walker declined to stop so they pursued him onto a highway. “During the pursuit, officers reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle,” the police said in a statement.
They said Walker’s car slowed down after some minutes; he came out of the vehicle and ran. The police said they chased him into a parking lot nearby.
“Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them,” the statement said. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Walker died at the parking lot where he was shot. Autopsy records show that officers fired more than 90 rounds at the 25-year-old, with more than 60 striking his body, Bobby DiCello, one of the family’s attorneys, told The Washington Post.
At a press conference on Sunday, Police Chief Steve Mylett said over 60 wounds were found on Walker’s body, adding that further investigation must be done to find out exactly how many rounds the officers fired and how many times Walker was hit.
Per body camera footage released on Sunday, Walker’s back seemed to be towards the officers when they fired at him. The shooting continued while Walker was on the ground, until an officer was heard telling his fellow officers to cease fire. Officials found a gun in Walker’s car but not on his body when officers started firing.
“How it got to this with a pursuit is beyond me,” DiCello said on Sunday. “I hope we remember that as Jayland ran across that parking lot, he was unarmed,” he added. Walker’s family said he was not a criminal. His fiancee had died in a car accident in May and was grieving, they added.
Officials are currently investigating the incident.
“This Black man was killed … for a possible traffic violation. This doesn’t happen to white people in America,” he added.