AKRON, Ohio, July 3 (Reuters) – Video released on Sunday showed eight police officers in Akron, Ohio, were involved in a shooting that killed an unarmed Black man whose body was found with some 60 gunshot wounds after he fled a traffic stop last week.
Police played multiple videos at a news conference, one of which they said shows a gunshot being fired from the car driven by Jayland Walker, 25. He fled in his car after officers attempted to pull him over for a minor traffic violation.
After a chase lasting several minutes, Walker jumped out of the car and ran away from police, the video showed. Police say it appears he was turning toward officers, who at the time believed he was armed. A gun was later recovered from his car.
The attorney for the Walker family, Bobby DiCello, told reporters on Sunday that he was “very concerned” about the police’s allegation that Walker had fired at officers from his car, and emphasized that there was no justification for his violent death.
“They want to turn him into a masked monster with a gun,” DiCello said. “I ask you, as he’s running away, what is reasonable? To gun him down? No, that’s not reasonable.”
DiCello urged the public to be peaceful in their protests of Walker’s killing, adding that it was the wish of Walker’s family to avoid more violence.
The shooting was the latest in a spate of killings of Black men and women by law enforcement in the United States that critics say are racist and unjustified, including the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis that ignited global protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
On Sunday afternoon, the Akron NAACP led a peaceful protest at city hall. Hundreds of demonstrators marched in the streets of the city of some 200,000 people, waving “Black Lives Matter” flags and chanting “We are done dying!” and “Justice for Jayland!”
It was not clear how many bullets struck Walker, but the body camera video shows police firing scores of rounds at him.
The medical examiner is still determining how many of the 60 wounds were entrance versus exit wounds, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said.
Mylett said officers had tried to administer first aid to Walker after he was shot, but he was pronounced dead on scene.
The eight officers directly involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, Mylett said, and they have not made any individual statements.
Those officers said they had believed Walker was “moving into firing position” when he got out of his car, prompting them to react to him as a potential threat, Mylett said.
Pressed by reporters for evidence that Walker had fired a gun from his car, Mylett said police had returned to the area where they believe Walker had fired from his car after the incident and found a bullet casing “consistent with a firearm that Mr. Walker had in his vehicle.”
Police also pointed to what appears to be a flash of light on the driver’s side of Walker’s car in the video, which they said is a muzzle flash.
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting a probe of the shooting and has not confirmed any of these details.
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