No charges against police for the murder of Jayland Walker

The eight Akron police officers who brutally killed 25-year-old Jayland Walker in a hail of bullets last June will not be criminally charged in his death, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Monday. Yost claimed that the officers were legally justified in the fatal shooting.

Akron police murdering Jayland Walker on June 27, 2022 [Photo: Akron Police Department]

Walker, unarmed, was murdered in the early morning hours of June 27, 2022, as he was running from police. According to a medical examiner’s report, Walker was shot 46 times by police.

In announcing the decision, Yost was speaking not as a prosecutor, but as the defense attorney for the police.

The video of the shooting which lasted seven seconds is so loud that it is impossible to determine how many shots were fired. Police can be seen reloading their weapons and continuing to fire as Walker lay on the ground.

Yost did not say if investigators determined how many shots were fired at Walker, and apparently he did not consider that important to find out.

The facts of the case show that Walker, a former Amazon worker and Door Dash delivery driver, was brutally murdered by police, who acted as judge, jury and executioner, for defying and attempting to flee from them.

Police claim that they were attempting to pull Walker over after he passed an intersection and one of his tail lights was not working.

After leading police on a short car chase during which police claim that he shot from his car, Walker jumped out of his car and attempted to flee on foot before he was shot and killed just a few seconds later.

At each point Yost defended the police actions saying that the police believed Walker represented a “deadly threat.”

Yost said it is critical to remember that Walker had fired at police, and that he “shot first,” neglecting to point out that, unlike movies and TV shows, it is almost impossible to aim a pistol from more than 10 yards away, let alone from a moving car.

Furthermore, speaking for the offices, Yost said that a grainy part of the video showed Walker reaching for his waistband and then raising his hands. Yost said that officers did not know he was unarmed and thought he was raising his hands to shoot at them.

In reality, Walker, realizing the futility of trying to run from the police, was raising his hands in surrender.

Far from believing that Walker was a threat, more likely, the police who are notorious throughout Akron for their brutality decided that they would execute Walker for having defied their initial order to stop.

The decision not to indict the eight officers was made after a grand jury investigation that lasted just six days.

Grand juries are often used by prosecutors because the prosecutor has almost complete control over the outcome. Those being investigated are not allowed to offer any defense. Unlike trials, those accused are not allowed to cross-examine witnesses. Therefore, prosecutors can present the evidence almost any way they want.

It is clear from Yost’s public statement that the prosecutors presented arguments to ensure that the officers would not be indicted.

Also, the proceedings of a grand jury are kept secret. They are almost always used in police prosecutions so the public will not know what was said and not said during the proceedings.

In a rare exception to this rule, several of the grand jury members in the March 2020 police murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote a letter describing how prosecutors never allowed them to consider if homicide charges could and should be brought against any of the police responsible for her death.

The identities of the eight officers who ruthlessly gunned down Walker have never been released and they were all returned to duty last October, long before the so-called independent investigation had been completed.

Jayland Walker’s mother and sister screamed in anger when the decision was announced, along with supporters who chanted “No Justice, No Peace” and “Jayland’s Life Matters.”

Family members, their attorney Bobby DiCello and supporters had gathered at the St. Ashworth Temple Church of God in Christ as they awaited the attorney general’s announcement.

“For weeks, we’ve heard ‘Let’s be peaceful,’” DiCello said. “Before there was an apology, there were boards” on windows, referring to the boards placed on the windows of City Hall and a fence erected around the courthouse to keep protesters away.

DiCello continued, noting the political establishment and media are “casting all of us who have believed in justice as people who would rather destroy things than have justice.”

Following Walker’s murder, Democratic Mayor Dan Horrigan sanctioned a regime of police terror against those protesting his murder. In the seven days after the release of the body camera video, hundreds of peaceful protesters were brutalized and arrested.

Video of the police show them beating and firing tear gas at protesters. Many of those arrested for exercising their right to free speech were held in jail for 36 hours and more.

Clearly, the Democratic Party administration in Akron is preparing for the same kind of crackdown on people protesting the decision not to bring charges against the officers who killed Walker.

Prior to announcing the grand jury’s decision, city workers put plywood over windows of City Hall. A designated protest zone was created downtown to both corral protesters and allow police to arrest anyone protesting outside the zone. Metal fencing was erected around the county courthouse.

Akron public schools were closed Monday and after-school programs were canceled for Tuesday. The University of Akron canceled evening classes for Monday, switching them to online learning.