On June 27, 2022, Jayland Walker was fatally shot by police in Akron, Ohio. The incident has prompted protests, calls for justice, and an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Now, a special grand jury is considering whether any of the eight police officers directly involved in the shooting will face criminal charges. In this blog post, we will explore what we know about the shooting of Jayland Walker, including police accounts, autopsy results, and video footage.
What Police Say Happened
According to police, the incident began when officers attempted to stop Walker for traffic and equipment violations. Walker fled the stop, and officers gave chase. Police played a narrated video timeline at a news conference in which they released parts of body camera videos from 13 officers at the scene. The video showed that about 40 seconds after the start of the pursuit, “a sound consistent with a gunshot can be heard” in body camera footage, and officers told dispatch a gunshot had been fired from Walker’s vehicle. Police also showed still images taken from traffic cameras that showed “a flash of light” – purportedly a muzzle flash – along the driver’s side of the car.
After several minutes, Walker’s vehicle slowed and he exited and ran. Several police officers got out of their patrol cars and chased him, and officers deployed Tasers in an effort to stop him, police said, but were unsuccessful.
Moments later, police said, Walker “stopped and quickly turned towards the pursuing officers.” Police believed Walker was reaching towards his waist, and officers opened fire, killing him.
Autopsy Results Jayland Walker
Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler conducted an autopsy on Jayland Walker and found that he suffered 46 gunshot entrance or graze wounds. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds. The wounds included 15 on Walker’s torso, where he had internal injuries to his heart, lungs, liver, spleen, left kidney, intestines, and multiple ribs; 17 on his pelvis and upper legs, where the right major artery going to the leg and the bladder were injured and the pelvis and both femurs were broken; one on his face, where the jaw broke; eight on his arms and right hand; and five on his knees, right lower leg, and right foot.
The week following the shooting, police released 13 videos from officers’ body cameras – eight from the officers directly involved in the shooting and five others from others who were at the scene. Toward the end of the pursuit, some of the footage shows the silver car Walker was driving stopping before he begins to exit the driver’s side. At least one officer shouts, “Let me see your hands,” and tells him not to move. The video shows Walker getting back into the car, which slowly moves forward. He is then seen getting out of the passenger side door and running from officers.
At least one officer again yells for Walker to show his hands, and the foot chase continued for several seconds before a series of gunshots ring out over seven seconds. The videos end right after the gunshots were fired and do not depict police officers’ efforts to provide medical care, though police say they attempted first aid after the shooting.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, CNN obtained in early September 24 more heavily redacted video clips showing more than four hours of the shooting and its immediate aftermath. In several videos, gunfire is heard for seven to eight seconds, followed by officers’ attempts to determine whether Walker is armed while he lies face-up and non-responsive on the ground.
The shooting of Jayland Walker has highlighted the ongoing issue of police use of force, particularly against Black individuals. His death has prompted protests and calls for justice, with many in the Akron community demanding accountability and transparency from law enforcement.
The grand jury review of the case is an important step in determining what, if any, charges will be brought against the officers involved. It remains to be seen how the grand jury will proceed and what the outcome will be, but the case has already sparked a national conversation about police accountability and the need for reform.
In the wake of the shooting, the Akron Police Department has faced criticism from some community members who feel that the officers involved should not have been reinstated. While the officers were placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, they were later reinstated due to “staffing issues” in the department. The decision to reinstate the officers has been met with skepticism, with some questioning whether it sends a message that police are above the law.
The release of video footage from the incident has also been a contentious issue. While the city of Akron has released some footage, it has been heavily redacted, leading some to question whether the city is being transparent about what happened. The fact that the footage ends right after the gunshots were fired and does not show the officers’ attempts to provide medical care has also been a point of concern for some community members.
Ultimately, the case of Jayland Walker highlights the need for more transparency and accountability in policing. While the grand jury review is an important step, it is just one piece of a larger puzzle. More must be done to address issues of police brutality and racial injustice, including reforming policing practices and increasing accountability for law enforcement officers. Only then can we hope to prevent tragedies like the shooting of Jayland Walker from happening in the future.
The shooting of Jayland Walker has prompted protests and calls for justice. A special grand jury is considering whether any of the eight police officers directly involved in the shooting.