The mayor of Akron, Ohio declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew and canceled a 4th of July fireworks display in the city after protests following the police killing of Gayland Walker, who had at least 60 injured from an officer fire.
Police released body camera video footage of the killing of the 25-year-old black man on Sunday, about a week after his death after what was supposed to be a routine stop in traffic. After a car chase, the police chased Walker on foot before unleashing a barrage of shots.
A coroner’s report found that Walker sustained at least 60 wounds. Eight officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Hundreds of protesters went out in peaceful demonstrations in downtown Akron, Sunday, calling for justice in Walker’s killing, and condemning police violence. Later that night, riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades into the crowds.
In a July 4 statement, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said the protests “did not escalate into violence and devastation” but said there was “significant property destruction” as night fell and others began to join in the demonstrations.
We cannot and will not tolerate violence or property destruction. In light of the damage that has occurred and in order to preserve peace in our society, I declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, and canceled the fireworks that were scheduled for tonight.”
The curfew will remain in effect until 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Police said Walker fled a traffic attempt in the early morning hours of Monday, before the chase began. Locker had one traffic offense and had no criminal record.
Officials claim that police saw a shot and wasted from Walker’s car. The video that was shown on Sunday appears to show a grainy image of a flash coming from the car.
One of the officers can be heard saying in the footage: “Shoots were fired, a bullet just came out of the car door.”
Lawyers for the Walker family say they have not seen evidence that Walker shot the police. Police found a pistol from the car after he was killed.
According to the police, the officers first tried to use an electric taser. Seconds later, eight officers surrounding Booker fired dozens of shots, thinking he was armed.
Akron Police Chief Stephen Millett said it was unclear how many shots were fired, though he expected the number to be “very high” and “in line with the number circulating.”
“In my 22 years working on trials, as a former Cuyahoga County District Attorney and as a civil rights attorney in many serious cases of the use of lethal force, I have never seen anything like this in my life,” Walker family attorney Bobby DeCillo said. Akron Beacon Magazine.
“We are all preparing for the community’s response and the only message we have is that the family does not need more violence,” he said. “She needs peace, she wants peace, she wants the process to start.”
The Ohio Criminal Investigations Bureau is leading an investigation, which will be turned over to the Ohio District Attorney’s Office for review.