Ohio police released graphic body camera video and additional details about the shooting of Black motorist Jayland Walker on Sunday, revealing for the first time the moment eight officers opened fire on Walker as he ran.
Akron police said in a statement that they attempted to stop Walker, 25, on unspecified traffic violations last Monday and chased him when he did not pull over. During the early Monday pursuit, officers “reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle,” according to police.
Walker then jumped out of his car, and officers pursued him on foot, according to police.
“The suspect’s actions led the officers to believe he posed a deadly threat to them,” police said. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Officers pursued Walker’s car on the expressway for several minutes before exiting on a ramp, police said at a press conference on Sunday.
Walker’s car slowed after the chase on city streets, and he exited through the passenger side door as the car continued to roll forward, according to police. According to the department’s account, officers attempted to stop Walker with stun guns before opening fire when the stun guns failed.
Police Chief Steve Mylett was unaware of the traffic or equipment violations cited by officers while attempting to pull Walker over.
According to Mylett, eight officers have been placed on paid administrative leave as part of protocol following a police shooting. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office will lead the investigation into police use of force.
Walker’s family has raised concerns about the use of lethal force. Bobby DiCello, an attorney for the family, stated that he reviewed the body camera video with the family.
According to a statement issued by the Fraternal Order of Police on Sunday, a state Transportation Department camera captured a muzzle flash as Walker led officers on a chase. The flash was highlighted in a video released by police on Sunday.
Following the news conference, DiCello spoke to reporters on behalf of Walker’s family, urging them to ask for peace in the aftermath of the video’s release.
In an interview Sunday evening, he reiterated the family’s wishes, saying, “Please, we want peace, dignity, and justice for Jayland.”
According to NBC affiliate WKYC in Cleveland, the mood appeared tense late Sunday, with temporary barriers knocked down, at least one window smashed, and an apparent dumpster fire.
Officers in riot gear were called in, and tear gas was fired near the city’s Stubbs Justice Center and adjacent police headquarters, according to the station.
The number of demonstrators remaining on the streets appeared to have dwindled by early Monday, with many of those who remained congregating in small groups.
Walker’s family lawyer, DiCello, said at the news conference that he had seen the video three times by the time he spoke on Sunday and that it “doesn’t get any easier.”
DiCello told reporters that he was concerned about the investigation, including whether officers had provided statements to the attorney general’s investigators by Sunday. He also claimed that he was initially told that the gun found in Walker’s car was in the back seat, despite the fact that police now claim it was in the driver’s seat.
Walker’s girlfriend died about a month before he did. DiCello stated that his family saw no problems with his behavior during his grief.
He mentioned Walker’s lack of a criminal record.
NBC News discovered no criminal records or civil lawsuits against Walker after reviewing public records. Walker’s only record was a speeding ticket issued in Akron Municipal Court in 2017.
For days, protesters in Akron have peacefully demonstrated, demanding greater transparency and accountability in Walker’s death.
Before the news conference on Sunday, LeBron James, a native of Akron, tweeted that he was praying for his hometown.
In the midst of the ongoing protests and investigation, Mayor Dan Horrigan canceled the city’s Fourth of July celebrations, stating that “now is not the time for a city-led celebration.”
Before the video was released on Sunday, Horrigan urged residents to remain peaceful, citing Walker’s family’s desire for them to refrain from violence.