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‘We’ve Seen It Too Many Times’: Ohio Grand Jury Decides Cops Are Justified In Shooting at Black Man 90 Times As He Fled During Traffic Stop

An Ohio grand jury will not indict the police officers who killed 25-year-old Jayland Walker in Akron last year.

Walker was fatally shot 46 times by the police last June.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Monday that the grand jury has ruled the police officers were legally justified in their use of force when they shot Walker 46 times, according to reports.

Jayland Walker
Jayland Walker was shot 46 times by the police in Akron, Ohio. (Photo: WBNS 10TV screenshot /YouTube)

“He reached for his waistband in what several officers described as a cross-draw motion, planted his foot and turned toward the officers while raising his hand,” said Yost. “Only then did the officers fire, believing Mr. Walker was firing again at them.”

Related: ‘Several Devastating Injuries’: Autopsy Shows Jayland Walker Sustained 46 Gunshot Wounds, Chief Medical Examiner Clears Up Initial Reports of 60 Wounds

Walker worked as a delivery driver and was detained by the police at a traffic stop on June 27. After he drove off in his vehicle, a police chase ensued before Walker stopped, exited his car and ran while wearing a ski mask. Multiple police officers opened fire at Walker seconds after he ran away.

The officers later claimed they deployed a Taser prior to shooting Walker and were defending themselves. They also claimed that Walker fired at them from his vehicle. A gun was later found inside Walker’s car.

Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett claimed that Walker turned at the officers while reaching down by his waist side. Mylett said the officers “felt that Mr. Walker had turned and was motioning and moving into a firing position,” adding that they opened fire at Walker, resulting in his death.

The eight police officers who were “directly involved” in shooting the 25-year-old were placed on paid administrative leave from the Akron Police Department while an investigation was conducted but reinstated on Oct. 10.

According to the Summit County Medical Examiner, Lisa Kohler, Walker had 46 entrance wounds or graze injuries from the gunfire and 15 exit wounds. Walker was shot in the torso, pelvis, face, arms, hand, knees, right leg and right foot. Experts initially thought Walker had been shot at least 60 times.

“Our ruling of homicide is a medical ruling, meaning death at the hands of another and is not a legal conclusion,” said Kohler. 

The shooting prompted weeks of protests in Akron, and NAACP President Derrick Johnson released a statement on Walker’s death.

“Any officers who fire 90 rounds at a Black man, for an alleged traffic violation, should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. This wasn’t self-defense,” said Johnson. “It wasn’t an accident in the heat of the moment, it was murder. Point blank. This Black man was killed – struck more than 60 times by 90 fired bullets – for a possible traffic violation.”

Johnson went on to say that Black people are targeted and hunted like prey by the police in America.

“This doesn’t happen to white people in America. Why do police continuously target us like domestic terrorists? We are just trying to live our lives, and we are tired of being hunted like prey,” he continued.

“We know that pulling over for the police is often a death sentence. The Akron Police Department has so much blood on their hands, and placing the officers who killed Jayland Walker on paid administrative leave won’t wash that blood away. Their response to this murder is disgusting. We demand justice for Jayland Walker now.”

Ohio state Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) released a statement after the decision was announced saying she would formally request that the Department of Justice investigate Walker’s death and the Akron Police Department.

“We’ve seen it too many times. A routine traffic stop ends in death, and a family and community mourn the loss of a son. A brother. A friend. A neighbor. As this country and community reckons with another tragic death, we find ourselves yearning for a justice system that protects us all,” she wrote.

“The safety and security of our neighborhoods requires trust between the community and the law enforcement officers who have taken an oath to protect and serve, but this trust has been violated and must be rebuilt,” she continued. “As such, I will formally request the Department of Justice to begin an investigation into the patterns and practices of the Akron Police Department to start the process of understanding how the department operates and look to create solutions for more community-focused policing that serves the needs of every segment of our community.”

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