Ohio police released a graphic body camera video and additional details Sunday about the shooting of Black motorist Jayland Walker, showing for the first time the moment eight officers released a barrage of bullets at Walker as he ran.
Akron officers said they tried to stop Walker, 25, on June 27 on unspecified traffic violations and chased him when he did not pull over, police said in a statement. Police said officers “reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle” during the pursuit.
Walker then jumped out of his car and officers chased him on foot, police said.
“Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them,” police said. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Police said at a news conference Sunday that officers pursued Walker’s car on the expressway for several minutes before they exited on a ramp.
After the chase on city streets, Walker’s car slowed, and he got out through the passenger side door as the car continued to roll forward, police said. Officers tried to stop Walker using stun guns and opened fire after the stun guns failed, according to the department’s retelling.
Police Chief Steve Mylett did not know the traffic or equipment violation officers cited in trying to pull Walker over.
Eight officers have been placed on paid administrative leave as part of the protocol in a police shooting, Mylett said. The Ohio attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, will lead the probe of police use of force.
In a statement Sunday, the Akron chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police said it believes investigators will find that the officers’ actions and the number of shots were justified.
“Officers reasonably believed that Mr. Walker presented an immediate threat of serious physical harm or death and lawfully … discharged their weapons,” the statement said.
Walker’s family has questioned the use of deadly force. An attorney for the family, Bobby DiCello, said he reviewed the body camera video with the family Thursday. Police publicly released the body camera video Sunday from eight officers who opened fire and five others who were at the scene.
DiCello said that Walker was fleeing from police when they shot at him and that he has not seen any evidence yet about allegations that Walker shot at officers.
“They descend upon him, and the first two of many officers there use their Tasers,” he said. “There can be no doubt he was unarmed at the time he exited the vehicle. It’s a nonlethal force when you have a nonlethal threat.”
DiCello said Mylett did not claim during his viewing last week that Walker made any threatening moves that would have justified his killing.
“The chief told us Thursday when he showed us the video that he could not find the movement that caused the shot,” he said.
DiCello told the Akron Beacon Journal on Saturday that dozens of shots were fired.
“He is just in a down sprint when he is dropped by I think the count is more than 90 shots,” DiCello told the newspaper. “Now, how many of those land, according to our investigation right now, we’re getting details that suggest 60 to 80 wounds.”
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