What we know about the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker as grand jury considers the
(CNN) The city of Akron, Ohio, is bracing for the findings of a special grand jury, which has been tasked with deciding if any of the eight police officers directly involved in the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker last summer will face criminal charges.
The shooting — in which Walker, who was Black, was shot dozens of times — came after police said the 25-year-old fled an attempted traffic stop early one morning last June. Walker’s death prompted an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, along with protests over racial injustice and police use of force — a few of which erupted into violence, resulting in damage to local businesses, according to Akron police.
Walker was unarmed at the time he was killed, according to police, though a gun was found in his vehicle after the shooting, and officers said Walker fired a gun from his vehicle during the car chase.
The Ohio BCI investigation has been completed and was referred to the special prosecutor, a spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed to CNN last month. The office declined to comment on any matters related to grand jury proceedings.
The city and attorneys for Walker’s family, however, acknowledged the grand jury review was underway in statements to CNN, with the latter criticizing the process as one that favored the police.
“Today an Akron grand jury began its process of determining whether the officers who gunned down Jayland Walker last summer will be held criminally accountable for their actions,” attorney Bobby DiCello said in a statement Monday.
“As part of that process, as Ohio law allows, the officers will be invited to testify before the grand jury on their behalf. Keep in mind that if any other Akron citizen was accused of a crime, they would not necessarily be afforded that same privilege,” he said. “Simply put, it’s a process that favors the officers.”
City officials hosted public meetings to address concerns about the grand jury proceedings and how any decision might impact the community. At one, Police Chief Stephen Mylett said he was “anticipating that there is going to be a response from Akron and beyond.”
The city also has established a demonstration zone downtown, along with temporary barriers and fencing around court and municipal buildings — moves a city spokesperson described as purely precautionary.
Here’s what we know about the shooting of Jayland Walker:
What police say happened
Walker was killed in a burst of gunfire early June 27, 2022, following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase that started when officers tried to stop him for traffic and equipment violations.
Walker fled the stop and officers gave chase, according to a narrated video timeline police played at a news conference July 3, when police released parts of body camera videos from 13 officers at the scene.
About 40 seconds after the start of the pursuit, the narrated video said, “a sound consistent with a gunshot can be heard” in body camera footage, and the 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.
“That changes the whole nature” of the incident, Mylett said at the time, turning a “routine traffic stop” into a “public safety issue.”
After several minutes, Walker’s vehicle slowed and he exited and ran, police said. 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.” Mylett told reporters officers believed Walker was reaching towards his waist and they “felt that Mr. Walker had turned and was motioning and moving into a firing position,” Mylett said, and officers opened fire, killing him.
Walker was handcuffed behind his back after the shooting — a move Mylett said was in accordance with department policy. Mylett indicated at a community event in late March that adjustments would be made to the policy.
Walker had 46 wounds, medical examiner found
Walker suffered 46 gunshot entrance or graze wounds, according to an autopsy by Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler, who found the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.
Per Kohler, 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.
• Five on his knees, right lower leg and right foot.
Though police accused Walker of firing a gunshot out his vehicle’s window, a gunshot residue test was not performed as part of the autopsy, Kohler said, explaining gunshot residue testing can detect specific particles related to the discharge of a firearm “but the results of that testing is not conclusive as to whether the person did or did not fire a weapon.”
The FBI discontinued this testing in 2006, and Kohler said her office discontinued the collection of that sampling a decade later and no longer purchases collection kits.
8 officers placed on leave, then reinstated
Eight police officers “directly involved” in the shooting were initially placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation, according to department protocol, Mylett said.
While back at work, the officers were not in uniform or responding to service calls, the Akron Police Department said.
According to information released by the city, seven of the eight officers are White and one is Black.
“The decision to deploy lethal force as well as the number of shots fired is consistent with use of force protocols and officers’ training,” the Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7 said in a statement last year.
What videos show
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.
The videos were released according to a city ordinance requiring video footage documenting an active police officer’s use of force to be released within seven days of the incident.
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, one video shows. 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.
Walker was declared dead at the scene.
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.
Each video contains several sections where the footage is blurred or blacked out, or where audio is muted. The city told CNN at the time this was done to redact officers’ identifying information.
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.
“Can anyone see the gun?” one officer is heard repeatedly asking, as a group of officers stand with guns still aimed at Walker. “Where is the weapon at?” one is heard asking in several videos.
Several officers are heard rendering first aid, shouting for light and asking for tourniquets and packing gauze.
None of the videos showed the inside of Walker’s car, though some show officers approaching the vehicle after the shooting. “It’s got a firearm in it,” one officer is heard saying.
Police are seen in other footage trying to sequester police who fired at Walker while discussing collecting their body-worn cameras.