Body Cam Footage Release in Jayland Walker Case Evokes Protest, Outrage

Protests and calls for justice followed the Sunday release of body camera footage that showed police officers fatally shooting Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man.

Last Monday, officers in Akron, Ohio, tried to stop Walker's car for unspecified traffic violations, but a chase ensued when he did not pull over, the Akron Police Department said in a statement last week. Police said officers "reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle."

After several minutes, Walker allegedly fled the moving vehicle and police continued to chase him on foot. "Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them," which made them discharge their firearms, fatally shooting Walker, according to the statement.

However, during a press conference on Sunday, authorities announced that Walker was unarmed at the time of the shooting, making him the latest unarmed Black man to be fatally shot by police in the United States.

Protests, outrage follow Jayland Walker shooting
Akron authorities revealed that 25-year-old Jayland Walker was unarmed when police fatally shot him last Monday—sparking protests and calls for justice. Above, a Black Lives Matter sign is seen in Detroit on May 29, 2020. SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

Police released a video of the shooting, which was described by Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan as "heartbreaking," and provided new details.

Eight officers were involved in the deadly incident, but it remained unknown exactly how many rounds were fired at Walker, though he suffered 60 gunshot wounds, according to the Associated Press. Police found a handgun in Walker's car, but he had no weapon when police shot him. They later found a casing consistent with the weapon at the point where they believed a shot came from the vehicle.

After the shooting, officers determined he still had a pulse and provided first aid, but he ultimately died at the scene, according to the AP. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, in a statement, vowed that the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation will conduct a "complete fair and expert" investigation into the shooting. The officers have since been placed on administrative leave.

The shooting drew cries for justice from local residents, leaders, and celebrities Sunday.

A large group of protesters gathered in downtown Akron to protest Walker's murder. They carried "Black Lives Matter" signs while leading chants for justice. A rally was also held outside of city hall. Videos of the protest were posted to Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

"The body camera footage depicting the death of #JaylandWalker was hard to watch & left more questions than answers. I renew my call for the Ohio BCI to conduct a swift & thorough investigation in order to help this community to heal & prevent this from occurring again," tweeted Emilia Sykes, a Democrat running for Congress in Akron.

Basketball player LeBron James, an Akron native, tweeted he is praying for his hometown following the press conference.

"I encourage you to not watch the video. Too much trauma, too many triggers (psychologically and literally). We've seen devastating horrors. We've endured generational cruelty. Lift his family up," tweeted Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.

Representative Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, wrote: "What do you see when you see us? What do you feel when you think about us? How do you think about us? I don't understand. He was running away unarmed. 90 shots from 8 cops. 60 ripped through his body. This isn't law enforcement. It's an execution. #JaylandWalker."