Protesters Across U.S. Demand Justice as Investigation of Jayland Walker’s Murder May Be Overseen by Feds

by Jhanaya Belle

July 7, 2022

Photo by: MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP via Getty Images

Federal law enforcement agencies are anticipated to monitor developments in the state and local investigation into the police shooting of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, in Akron, Ohio, which sparked angry but largely peaceful protests.

The shooting has drawn the attention of both local and state law enforcement authorities.

President Joe Biden spoke out about the shooting of Jayland Walker by the Akron police on Wednesday during his address in Cleveland.

“Before I begin, I want to make one serious comment about the shooting death of Jayland Walker,” Biden said. “The Justice Department and the civil rights division of the FBI field office in Akron, Ohio, and the local U.S. attorney’s office are closely monitoring and reviewing what happened.

He continued.

“The FBI continues to coordinate with state and local partners to provide resources and specialized skills,” he added. “If the evidence reveals potential violations of federal criminal statutes, the Justice Department will take the appropriate action and I just want you to know what’s going to happen.”

The eight police officers who attempted to arrest Walker and shot him more than 60 times are currently on paid administrative leave. At the same time, the Akron Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office are conducting their investigations.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the Akron and national NAACP and other organizations are requesting that the US Department of Justice look into the Akron police shooting.

“We are asking for the Department of Justice to come in. We want a consent decree from the state. We are looking for real change. And, so, we know it can’t happen within. It hasn’t happened to date,” Akron NAACP President Judi Hill stated.

On June 27, at around 2:30 a.m., an Akron police officer tried to pull Walker over for a broken taillight, a broken license plate light, and an unidentified offense, according to the newspaper.

The police claimed that Walker led them on a high-speed chase, during which a flash of light that might have been gunfire from Walker’s car, was captured on film.

Walker allegedly pulled over and escaped on foot, according to police investigators. Two tasers were shot at him by police, unsuccessfully. Walker turned toward the officers and allegedly maneuvered into fire position as they reportedly feared for their lives. They hurled a barrage of shots at Walker. Walker immediately slumped to the ground, but as he laid there, several of the officers shot him.

Walker was unarmed when cops opened fire on him, according to a later police report.

A group of protesters gathered outside the Akron Police Department on June 30 to call for Walker’s justice.

The already tense situation was exacerbated on Sunday, July 3, when authorities published graphic video footage of the shooting. Hundreds of protestors marched peacefully, but as the protests dragged into the night, the police sprayed tear gas at them.

On July 4, protests intensified but remained largely peaceful, even though some of them resulted in property damage.

According to WKSU, police detained 50 people who refused to leave the downtown Akron area after being told to.

Among those arrested were Jacob Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr. and Breonna Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin.

Our condolences goes out to Jayland Walker’s loved ones. 

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