Akron mayor issues state of emergency and cancels Fourth of July celebrations after violent protests

1 month ago
AMERICA NEWS NOW

Nearly 100 protesters chanted 'no justice, no peace' and 'defund the police' outside the Akron mayor's house while Ohio police in riot gear stood guard.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a state of emergency throughout the city Monday after peaceful protests over the shooting death of Jayland Walker turned violent Sunday night.

Walker, 25, was shot 60 times by Akron cops following a traffic stop on June 27. Police body camera video released Sunday showed officers fire 90 shots at the black man while he fled on foot.

The emergency proclamation was made after cops unleashed a wave of tear gas on protesters who gathered outside of the city's main courthouse on Sunday night.

Horrigan said 'violent and unlawful acts' committed during the protests 'create an immediate danger to the health and safety' of citizens. 

Monday marks the fifth day of demonstrations demanding accountability for the black DoorDash driver's death. 

Protesters chanting 'no justice, no peace' returned to the Akron streets on Monday after the mayor issued a state of emergency throughout the city

Independence Day marks the fifth day of demonstrations calling for accountability after Jayland Walker, 25, was fatally shot 60 times by Akron cops following a traffic stop on June 27

Nearly 100 protesters chanted 'no justice, no peace' and 'defund the police' outside the Akron mayor's house on Monday while Ohio police in riot gear stood guard

Akron residents marched to Horrigan's house Monday to demand change at police department and in the community in wake of Walker's death. The protesters chanted 'defund the police' and left the mayor written lists of demands outlining changes they'd like to see in the city

Monday's rally came just hours after Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a city-wide 9pm curfew and canceled Fourth of July festivities. Violent protests overnight  Sunday caused 'significant damage to the city' (pictured)

Akron residents marched to Horrigan's house Monday to demand change at police department and in the community in wake of Walker's death.

They were met by police donning riot gear who were seemingly protecting the mayor and his property. 

The protesters chanted and left the mayor written lists of demands outlining changes they want to see in their city, NBC News Correspondent Maggie Vespa reported.

Many demonstrators said they wanted the eight officers involved in the shooting that killed Walker to be fired.  

The police chief had previously said they've been placed administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation probes the incident. 

#BREAKING: roughly 100 protesters in Akron have marched to the Mayor’s house.

Met by police in riot gear, they chanted & left hand written requests on what they want from the city: many demanded the 8 police officers who shot & killed Jayland Walker named & fired. pic.twitter.com/oYktw0SfxT

— Maggie Vespa (@Maggie_Vespa) July 4, 2022

Demonstrators marched to Horrigan's house just hours after he issued a city-wide curfew in effect from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Tuesday. 

The mayor issued the emergency proclamation after Sunday's peaceful demonstrations turned violent overnight, causing damage to the city.

'We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence,' he said. 

'In light of the damage that has occurred and in order to preserve peace in our community, I have declared a state of emergency, implemented a curfew and canceled the fireworks which were scheduled for tonight.'

Jayland Walker, 25, was shot dead by police in Akron, Ohio, after officers tried to stop him for a traffic violation

Small businesses in the city's downtown were vandalized and suffered broken windows. 

Police in 'full riot gear' used tear gas in response to a protester who was taking down barriers that were set up outside of the police headquarters. 

While fleeing the tear gas, protesters began driving their cars on the sidewalk to get around snowplows parked in the road to block off the high street. At least one protester broke the windows of the parked plows.

A city truck used to barricade a downtown street also had its windows smashed, WEWS-TV reported. 

Other protesters launched smoke bombs in the streets and a row of dumpsters was set on fire.  

Horrigan applauded the demonstrators who opted to remain peaceful, honoring the wishes of Walker's loved ones. 

'Early yesterday, we had several peaceful protests in the downtown footprint related to the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker. These protests did not escalate to violence and destruction. I want to first thank them,' the mayor said Monday.

'As I stated yesterday, I fully support our residents' right to peacefully assemble. What we have been calling for since the beginning, and what the Walker family and many community leaders and faith leaders have also urged, is peace.'

Although he respects residents right to protest, the mayor reiterated that 'actions must be taken to protect the community' from violence.

Ohio cops unleashed a wave of tear gas on protesters who gathered outside of the city's main courthouse on Sunday night

The state of emergency proclamation came after several hundred protesters took to the streets Sunday (pictured) after the Akron Police Department released bodycam footage showing the shooting death of Jayland Walker

Mayor Dan Horrigan said there was 'significant property damage done to downtown Akron'

Small businesses in the city's downtown area were vandalized and windows broken

A city truck used to barricade a downtown street also had its windows smashed

Mayor Dan Horrigan issued the emergency proclamation Monday morning

Sunday marked the fourth day of protests in Akron following Walker's death. It was also the largest protest to date.

Protesters chanted 'Justice for Jayland' and 'we are done dying' while they marched from Quaker Square to Akron Police Headquarters and City Hall.

Some demonstrators blocked off traffic and others vandalized city property. 

Police used 'at least a dozen' tear gas cans on protesters, which resulted in many of the gathered crowd leaving the area, WKYC's Neil Fischer reported. He said you could smell the tear gas in the air more than 15 minutes after it was used. 

Fellow WKYC reporter, Emma Henderson, tweeted: 'Tear gas is flowing. We were well over a block away from where it was fired and it's in our noses, eyes and throats. Protesters are finding each other water and moving away.' 

One protester, who goes by the moniker Comrade Ohio on Twitter, tweeted a video of a dumpster near the police station engulfed in flames, saying: 'City gonna burn. Tear gas deployed. Justice for Jayland Walker. Abolish APD. They are flying the blue line flag. Come downtown y'all. We need more people.' 

Demonstrators are pictured in downtown Akron on Monday at an NAACP rally demanding for 'Justice for Jayland'

Protesters returned to the street Monday, to unite against the police killing of Jayland Walker

A man gestures toward troopers in riot gear as police deployed tear gas and stun grenades to clear the area around Akron City Hall and Akron Police Station during a protest over the killing of Jayland Walker, shot by police, on Sunday

Demonstrators face troopers in riot gear as police deployed tear gas to clear the crowd in Akron on Sunday

Troopers in riot gear and police officers deployed tear gas and stun grenades to clear the area around Akron City Hall and Akron Police Station on Sunday

One protester, who goes by the moniker Comrade Ohio on Twitter, tweeted a video showing a dumpster on fire in the city. The dumpster is located close to the police headquarters

ComradeOhio also shared clips of tear gas being deployed during Sunday's disturbances

The Akron NAACP held a rally and march in downtown Sunday after police released the body camera footage. 

That demonstration remained peaceful and called for accountability and transparency within the Akron Police Department. The protest that took place outside of the courthouse and the police headquarters was not part of the NAACP march.

The crowd outside of the courtroom tweeted: 'Hey, hey, ho, ho, these racist cops have got to go.'  

According to Cleveland.com, many from the NAACP march eventually joined the protest outside of the police station.

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads 'Jayland Walker was executed' as he protests against the Akron police shooting death of Black man Jayland Walker in Akron on Sunday 

Troopers in riot gear watch as demonstrators gather outside Akron City Hall to protest the killing of Jayland Walker, who was shot by police, in Akron on Sunday

Police officers in riot gear watch as demonstrators gather outside Akron City Hall to protest the killing of Jayland Walker in Akron 

Demonstrators face troopers in riot gear as police deployed tear gas and stun grenades to clear the area around Akron City Hall and Akron Police Station during a protest over the killing of Jayland Walker, shot by police, in Akron on Sunday

Riot police are pictured gathered in Akron on Sunday evening

Sunday's chaos erupted after police released two body camera videos showing Walker was shot at least 60 times, as well as the moments leading up to his death. It was the final deadline they had to turn over the video to the public.

The first video showed cops pursuing Walker's silver Buick on Route 8 around 12:30 a.m. in Akron's North Hill neighborhood. They attempted to pull him over for a traffic and equipment violation. 

The video showed Walker's car taking an onramp and a flash of light that Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said appeared to be a flash of a gun coming from the driver's side of Walker's car.

A second camera recorded officers saying they heard at least one shot being fired from Walker's vehicle. The cops follow Walker off Route 8 and continue the pursuit on the city streets. 

Walker slowed down and jumped out of the car before it came to a full stop. Video then shows the 25-year-old exiting the passenger side door in a ski mask and running off.

Multiple officers run after Walker, who seemingly looked over his shoulder, while cops opened fire at him.

Mylett claims he watched the video at least 40 times and said there are still photos showing Walker apparently reach for his waistband, turn toward cops and move his arm forward. 

DailyMail.com cannot verify Mylett's statements as Walker's face and body were blurred out in the video at the request of his family. 

Police released heartbreaking body camera footage on Sunday of the moment Jayland Walker was shot 60 times in a hail of 90 bullets on June 27

Video from the scene showed a gun on the front seat of Walker's car, contradicting earlier reports that the 25-year-old had been unarmed

Cops were pursuing Walker's silver Buick on Route 8 around 12:30 a.m. on June 27 in Akron's North Hill neighborhood 

The video showed Walker's car taking an onramp and a flash of light that Police Chief Stephen Mylett said appeared to be a flash of a gun coming from the driver's side of Walker's car 

Reporters asked Mylett if officers overreacted when they opened fire on Walker.

'It was difficult to watch, and shocking,' Mylett said Sunday, adding: 'I'm not going to pass judgment' until the investigation is completed. 

He called for patience as the investigation continues and reiterated that any time a cop opens fire, they must 'articulate what specific threats they were facing.'

'When an officer makes the most critical decision in his or her life as a police officer, it doesn't matter where in the country this happens, when they make that most critical decision to point their firearm at another human being and pull the trigger, they've got to be ready to explain why they did what they did,' the chief said.

'They need to be able to articulate what specific threats they were facing, and that goes for every round that goes down the barrel of their gun.' 

Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan also commented on the footage, saying: 'The video is heartbreaking, it's hard to take in.'

The medical examiner determined Walker had suffered 60 gunshot wounds during the incident, Mylett confirmed Sunday. The exact number of shots fired remains under investigation, but initial estimates suggested a hail of 90 bullets. 

Mylett said officers rendered aid to Walker as soon as gunfire ceased, but he still died at the scene. 

Officers were recorded saying they heard at least one shot being fired from Walker's vehicle. The cops follow Walker off Route 8 and continued their pursuit on the city streets

Officers are seen chasing Walker after he fled during a traffic stop on June 27

The hail of bullets sounded like 'a whole brick of fireworks going off,' the family's attorney said

Police have released heartbreaking body camera footage of the moment Jayland Walker was shot 60 times in hail of 90 bullets on June 27

Following the release of the footage, the Fraternal Order of Police's Akron Lodge #7 said that the car being driven by the victim was involved in a 'felony fleeing police chase' the previous morning. 

That chase took place just north of Akron in Franklin Township. 

'We believe the independent investigation will justify the officers' actions, including the number of shots fired,' a press release read. 'The decision to deploy lethal force as well as the number of shots fired is consistent with use of force protocols and officers' training.' 

One woman was quoted by the web site as saying over a megaphone: 'I didn't know him, but I feel y'all pain. I want y'all to know, this thing is trending everywhere, Nigeria, Germany. We can't let this keep happening to us. My heart goes out to all of [those] getting killed in these streets. It ain't right, we need to stand together.'

During that woman's speech, she said she refused to buy her son a toy gun because she was afraid police officers would mistake it for a real gun. 

An armed member of the Black Panthers told 19 News on Sunday: 'That was murder. They [police] lying. They shot him while he was running. He was running away from them. That was murder.'

The station said the man was with at least three other armed men in the protest.  

The Akron NAACP held a rally and march in downtown Sunday after police released the body camera footage. That demonstration remained peaceful and called for accountability and transparency within the Akron Police Department 

Earlier in the day, demonstrators held 'Justice for Jayland' signs as they gathered outside Akron City Hall to protest the killing of Jayland Walker in Akron on Sunday afternoon

Demonstrators gather outside Akron City Hall to protest the killing of Jayland Walker, shot by police, in Akron, on Sunday

People walk in an NAACP-led march and rally for Jayland Walker, on Sunday in Akron, Ohio

LeBron James, who was born and raised in Akron, asked his followers to pray for his city

LeBron later released a separate statement through his foundation's Instagram page

Jayland Walker's family have pleaded with protesters to remain peaceful in the wake of his death

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Lakers and Akron native LeBron James tweeted shortly after the bodycam footage was made public: 'I pray for my city today!'

In a separate statement on his foundation's Instagram page, LeBron said: 'Akron is our home and it is our daily work to build up and bring people together in positive and peaceful ways, which is what we will support today and always.

'This starts with justice and accountability first and continues with love, family, and coming together to create change. We are family.' 

Attorney Bobby DiCello, who represents Walker's family, described the video as 'brutal' in comments published on Saturday by the Akron Beacon Journal.

He said Walker's relatives worried that protests this weekend could turn violent.

'We're all bracing for the community's response, and the one message that we have is the family does not need any more violence,' DiCello said.

Officials joined the family on Sunday, calling for peaceful demonstrations as furious residents take to the streets.  

Walker's aunt, Minnie, called for peace saying: 'We don't show credibility if we don't do it right.'

Robert Dejournett, a relative of Walker's and a pastor at St. Ashworth Temple Church of God in Christ in Akron, told CNN: 'We're God-fearing folk who believe in God and we want to exemplify that even in this process. We don't want any rioting or anything like that.'

Dejournett said the family hopes the shooting will lead to systematic change.

'We want to take that, and we want to use it for the benefit of systemic change,' Dejournett said. 'We want to be treated like human beings, you know, black men, young men, they're afraid when it comes to police -- that shouldn't be,' he said.

In May 2020, the Akron Police Department fired multiple volleys of tear gas on protesters just in the protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

The city of Akron has a population of around 200,000 and is located 30 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Read Entire Article