Lawyer says Ohio police officers shot fleeing black man dozens of times

Police killed Jayland Walker, a black man in Ohio, by shooting him dozens of times as he ran from officers after a traffic stop, a family lawyer said, citing a review of body-worn police CCTV footage that will be made public on Sunday.

In comments published Saturday by the Akron Beacon Journal, attorney Bobby DiCello described the video as “cruel,” and said Walker’s relatives feared protests could turn violent this weekend.

The shooting was the latest in a series of killings of black men by law enforcement officers in the United States that critics say are unjustified, including the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that sparked global protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

“We’re all bracing for the community’s response, and the only message we have is that the family doesn’t need violence anymore,” DiCello said.

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Akron police said 25-year-old Walker fired a gun at officers chasing him. They plan to release their body-camera images after a press conference on Sunday, hours before a protest march is scheduled.

“Protesting is a way of crying,” Rodderick Pounds Sr., pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Akron, said at a prayer meeting there on Saturday after being given permission to see the video before it was made public.

Pounds declined to detail “the graphic video the world is about to see,” but called the footage “shocking,” saying it showed Walker posed no threat when he was shot in a way that pastor compared to a “bloodbath”. †

“It’s barbaric,” Pounds said in an interview with local television channel WEWS-TV. “You’ll see tomorrow.”

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Officials have said the deadly clash began when officers tried to stop Walker for a traffic violation while he was driving early Monday morning. Walker fled, according to Akron police, who said officers fired a gun from Walker’s vehicle.

After several minutes, Walker left his vehicle and ran, as officers chased him on foot and fired at him, saying he posed a “death threat”, police said in a statement on Tuesday.

Walker was pronounced dead in the parking lot where he fell. Police representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

DiCello said his team saw no evidence that Walker fired a weapon and that police body camera footage showed him running with his back to officers as they shot him.

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“He’s just in a sprint down when he’s dropped. I think the count is over 90 shots,” DiCello told the Beacon Journal. “Now, how many of those countries, according to our research at the moment, we’re getting details that indicate 60 to 80 wounds.”

It wasn’t clear how many bullets hit Walker, because bullets can cause wounds that both enter and exit the body, DiCello said.

Television station WJW-TV said a preliminary report from the coroner’s office revealed that Walker had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his head, torso and legs, and that a weapon was recovered from a car by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, although it did not specify which car.

Pounds told WEWS that Walker “had no weapon when he was shot. It was in his car.”

According to the Beacon Journal, Walker’s fiancé was killed in a car accident last month, although WJW cited lawyers for his family who said Walker had no intention of harming himself or anyone else when he was killed.

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave during an investigation, the department statement said.

(Reporting by Jason Lange and Jonathan Landay in Washington; additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Daniel Wallis)