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Akron cops deploy tear gas on protesters amid anger over police shooting death of unarmed Jayland Walker, mayor issues curfew

Kate Feldman, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

Police in riot gear shot tear gas into marching protesters in Akron, Ohio, Sunday night, hours after the release of body camera video showing the shooting death of unarmed Black man Jayland Walker.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced a curfew Monday, closing off downtown from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice.

Mostly peaceful protesters chanting “Justice for Jayland” and “we are done dying” took to the streets Sunday, with some reports of windows being smashed and a fire being set in a dumpster, according to WKYC.

A spokesperson for the Akron Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment from the Daily News Monday about why the tear gas was deployed.

“As I stated yesterday, I fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble. What we have been calling for since the beginning, and what the Walker family and many community leaders and faith leaders have also urged, is peace,” Horrigan said in a statement.

“However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful. There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron. Small businesses up and down Main St. have had their windows broken. We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence.”

The Fourth of July fireworks have also been canceled.

Walker, 25, was fatally shot by eight police officers in the early hours of June 27 after fleeing a traffic stop, according to police.

 

Body camera footage released Sunday in short clips and still shots began during a car chase as officers pursued Walker, who then jumped out of his car wearing a ski mask and fled on foot.

Police claim that a shot was fired from Walker’s car during the initial pursuit, but a lawyer for the victim’s family has questioned that narrative, arguing that there are no signs from inside the car that a gun went off.

Officers, believing Walker “posed a deadly threat to them,” fired dozens of times, first with Tasers and then guns, according to the initial report and Police Chief Steve Mylett Sunday.

Mylett refused to confirm how many times Walker was shot, but admitted that his body had at least 60 bullet holes, which likely include both entrance and exit wounds.

Officials also confirmed Sunday that while a gun was found in Walker’s car, he was unarmed when police shot him.

Walker was handcuffed and on his back with gunshots to the face, stomach and upper legs, according to a report obtained by the Akron Beacon Journal.

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