Curfew issued after protests, police killing of Akron man

Protesters march along South High Street on Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Akron, Ohio, calling for justice for Jayland Walker after he was fatally shot by Akron Police earlier in the week, following a vehicle and foot pursuit. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal via AP)

(NewsNation) — The City of Akron, Ohio has canceled its local fireworks displays and issued a curfew in the wake of the police killing of 25-year-old Jayland Walker.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan declared a state of emergency in response to protests Sunday night. Although protests throughout the day were peaceful, demonstrations later grew more destructive, Horrigan said in an official statement issued Monday.

“There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron,” Horrigan said. “Small businesses up and down Main St. have had their windows broken. We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence.”

Walker, who is Black, was unarmed when Akron police chased him on foot and killed him in a hail of gunfire on June 27. Officers believed Walker had shot at them earlier from a vehicle and they feared he was preparing to fire again, authorities said Sunday at a news conference.

It’s unclear how many shots the eight officers involved fired, but Walker sustained more than 60 wounds. A gun was later recovered from his car.

An attorney for Walker’s family said officers kept firing even after he was on the ground.

The officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases. Seven of them are white, and one is Black, according to the department.

Their length of service with Akron police ranges from one-and-a-half to six years, and none of them has a record of discipline, substantiated complaints or fatal shootings, it said.

Protests continued Sunday, beginning with several peaceful marches, NewsNation’s Ohio affiliate WJW reported. By 10 p.m. a dumpster had been lit on fire. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the fire.

The police killing of Black men and women remains a source of outrage, having reached a fever pitch in March 2020 when George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer sparked nationwide protests and calls for police reform.

“We are done dying,” Akron NAACP President Judi Hill told WJW. “We will not rest until there is full accountability and prosecution for this senseless murder. This seething hatred, fear, and hunting down of Black men in our communities at the hands of police must end.”

State Attorney General Dave Yost vowed a “complete, fair and expert investigation” by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Akron police are conducting a separate internal investigation about whether the officers violated department rules or policies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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