AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A funeral service is scheduled Wednesday for Jayland Walker, the 25-year-old Black man killed in a hail of police gunfire in Akron, Ohio, which declared a citywide day of mourning after days of protests over his death.
A public viewing was planned at the Akron Civic Center prior to the 1 p.m. funeral. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan declared Wednesday a day of mourning in the city.
Walker was killed June 27 at the end of a vehicle and foot chase that followed an attempted traffic stop. He wasn’t armed when he was shot, but authorities said Walker had fired a shot from his car 40 seconds into the chase. Police body camera footage released by the city on July 3 shows Walker wearing a ski mask, jumping out the front passenger door of his still-moving car and then running into a parking lot.
That blurry footage does not clearly show what authorities say was a threatening gesture before he was shot by eight officers, seven who are white and one who is Black.
Investigators haven’t confirmed how many rounds were fired or how many times he was shot. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office said it found more than 60 wounds on Walker’s body, but hasn’t said how many were entrance and exit wounds.
Walker did not have a gun when he was killed. Akron police released a photo that showed an unloaded handgun, an ammunition clip and what appeared to be a wedding ring on the driver’s seat of Walker’s car.
Walker’s fiancée was killed a month earlier when a semi struck the back of a van she was riding in, tossing her from the vehicle, on Interstate 71 outside Cincinnati. She was then struck by another vehicle that fled the scene without stopping.
Bobby DiCello, an attorney for Walker’s family, said that Walker, a Door Dash driver with no criminal record, did not deserve to be killed.
Less than 24 hours earlier, an officer in nearby New Franklin Township had tried to stop a car believed to be Walker’s for the same equipment violations that led to the Akron chase. A police supervisor called off the pursuit when the driver crossed the township border into Akron.
DiCello said Walker’s actions during both pursuits was “odd behavior relative to who he was as a person. He was obviously dealing with something because he never acted like that before and his record proved that.”
Downtown Akron has seen daily protests since city officials released body camera footage from the eight officers. They’ve announced a nightly curfew in downtown Akron from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The eight officers have not been identified. Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said on Monday that rumors about the names of the officers have led to disinformation and that “bounties” have been placed on their lives.
A community relations team from the U.S. Department of Justice has been monitoring Walker’s shooting and has offered to help communications with groups about the city and its police policies.
Akron police asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to handle the investigation into the shooting. BCI’s findings will be turned over to the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office to present evidence to a grand jury to determine if any officers will be charged criminally.
Akron police are conducting an internal investigation to determine if officers followed procedures, including the department’s pursuit policy, that night.
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