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Akron, Ohio imposes curfew after protests over black man killed by police

Jayland Walker’s body was found to have about 60 gunshot wounds

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The Ohio city of Akron declared a state of emergency on Monday, imposed a curfew and canceled Independence Day fireworks after protests over the police killing of an unarmed black man turned unruly on Sunday night.

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The protests erupted after police released body camera video that showed eight officers shooting Jayland Walker, 25, as he fled a traffic stop last week. Walker’s body was found to have about 60 gunshot wounds.

The day’s protests on Sunday were peaceful, but despite pleas from the Walker family to keep the demonstrations peaceful, Akron police declared the assembly unlawful once property was damaged. Officers in riot gear fired about a dozen canisters of tear gas to disperse the protesters, WKYC-TV reported.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said a curfew in downtown Akron is in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice, and two Fourth of July fireworks have also been canceled.

“There was significant property damage in downtown Akron. Small businesses up and down Main Street have broken windows. We cannot and will not tolerate destruction of property or violence,” Horrigan said in a statement.

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A woman stands in front of soldiers in riot gear as police deploy tear gas and stun grenades to clear the area around Akron City Hall and the Akron Police Station during a protest against the police shooting of Jayland Walker in Akron, Ohio, July 3, 2022. (Photo by MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman stands in front of soldiers in riot gear as police deploy tear gas and stun grenades to clear the area around Akron City Hall and the Akron Police Station during a protest against the police shooting of Jayland Walker in Akron, Ohio, July 3, 2022. (Photo by MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP via Getty Images)

The shooting of Jayland Walker is the latest in a series of police killings of unarmed black men, raising questions about police use of force and equal justice for African-Americans and ing to increased polarization in the United States.

Police said Walker had a gun in the car but left it in the front seat as he fled on foot. Officers believed he fired from inside the car before fleeing, and that Walker was “moving into a firing position” when he got out of the car, prompting them to respond to him as a potential threat, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said. he said.

A handgun, a loaded magazine and a gold ring are seen in the front seat of the vehicle of Jayland Walker, a black man who was shot by eight officers, in Akron, Ohio, U.S. on June 27, 2022, in a still image from a police video presentation.  City of Akron/Handout via REUTERS
A handgun, a loaded magazine and a gold ring are seen in the front seat of the vehicle of Jayland Walker, a black man who was shot by eight officers, in Akron, Ohio, U.S. on June 27, 2022, in a still image from a police video presentation. City of Akron/Handout via REUTERS

THE PROMISE OF A “FAIR” INVESTIGATION

The mayor praised the peaceful protests led by the Akron chapter of the NAACP. Hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of the city of around 200,000 people, waving “Black Lives Matter” flags and chanting “We’re done dying” and “Justice for Jayland.”

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Horrigan said the trouble started after dark, a pattern seen in the tumultuous summer of 2020 as protests spread across the United States over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several years . minutes. The officers were later convicted of various charges, including murder and civil rights violations in the Floyd case.

On Sunday, Walker’s family attorney Bobby DiCello told reporters he was “very troubled” by police allegations that Walker fired at officers from his car, ing that there was no justification for his violent death.

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“I ask you, if he is running away, what is reasonable? Shoot him? No, that’s not reasonable,” DiCello said.

The Ohio Attorney General and Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation are investigating and the file will be released after the case is closed, Attorney General Dave Yost said Sunday.

“People want and deserve answers and they will get them. BCI will conduct a full, fair and professional investigation,” Yost said in a statement

Eight officers directly involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave, Akron’s police chief said.

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