Akron, OH. - The Black Elected Officials of Summit County call for practical police reform to prevent police brutality. The organization's members request intervention from the United States Department of Justice. In a recent press release, the organization says they are tired of police officers killing black men and women. The press release originated from the recent death of an unarmed black man who was allegedly shot at 90xs and struck 60xs by eight Akron police officers. The press release says that this caused the man's untimely death.
According to the press release, this incident occurred on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, and ensued over a minor traffic infraction that led to a high-speed chase. The chase ended when Jayland Walker exited his vehicle unarmed and, according to police, made threatening gestures that caused the eight officers to open fire. The police body camera footage of this incident has yet to be released.
Several Members of the Black Elected Officials of Summit County offered their condolences to the family and made a plea to the community and the Department of Justice.
"We are extremely exhausted by the continued playing out of Black men, and women gunned down at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. The Black Elected Officials of Summit County call for practical police reform to prevent police brutality and implicit bias and for The Department of Justice to step in and investigate the shooting and killing of Jayland Walker. As Black people, we are too often considered suspect and perceived as threatening, which is why the killing of Mr. Walker is so disturbing. After being shot 60 times, police still deemed it necessary to bind his hands in cuffs. Mr. Walker was already dead. When are we not a threat? The Summit County Black Elected Officials offer our sincerest condolences to the loved ones of Jayland and assure you that we will be vigilant and watchful as the investigation details unfold," said BEOSC President and County Councilwoman Veronica Sims.
"No traffic stop should end with someone losing their life. Jayland Walker mattered to his family, his friends, and this community. Jayland's life mattered," sadly stated Councilwoman Tara L. Mosely, Councilwoman Akron's Ward 5 community.
Twinsburg City School Board President Mark Curtis added, "the shooting death of Jayland Walker is a tragedy. Absolute transparency in this investigation is paramount to ensuring the public trust in our institutions. The truth must come out, and we are seeking justice."
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Jayland Walker, and we only ask for a thoroughly independent and fair review of the facts. Upon completion of the investigation, we want accountability," said Akron City Councilwoman at Large Linda Omobien.
We attempted to contact Mayor Dan Horrigan's office for comments, but no one was available. We sent an email asking the following questions:
- Do you know if this matter is under investigation?
- Are the officers on suspension?
- Is the Mayor supporting assistance from the Department of Justice?
- When will the body cameras be released to the public?
- What racial make-up are the officers who are involved with this case?
Akron School Board President Dr. N. J. Akbar (Akron) says, "Firing 90 times on anyone unarmed is more than excessive; it's inhumane, unjust, and immoral. The citizens of Akron deserve accountability and immediate transparency. Regardless of what Mr. Walker did, he did not deserve this. No one unarmed does. The over-vilifying of Black bodies needs to stop. We deserve better from our police. Jayland Walker's life was not indispensable. My heart goes out to his family and all who loved him. This situation is not about the traffic violation or what you believe he did last year; this is about the lack of respect and regard for Black lives. We need answers!"
We will update this story as it unfolds.