Akron, Ohio – On July 3, hundreds of people took to the streets and participated in marches demanding justice for Jayland Walker, an African American man who was murdered by Akron police on June 27. Shot over 60 times and then handcuffed after his body was full of holes and bleeding wounds, Jayland Walker was unarmed while murdered by police. The organized protests follow days of sporadic unrest throughout the city. After the seventh day, the Akron Police Department finally held a press conference which released body-cam footage detailing the incident to the public.
After a press conference, protesters immediately began gathering at Quaker Station for a march organized by The Freedom BLOC, Akron NAACP and others. As they made their way through the streets of downtown Akron to City Hall, chants of “No more dying” and “How do you spell murderer? A.P.D” echoed off the buildings. Upon arriving at City Hall, the crowd had grown to over 200 people.
N.J Akbar, President of the Akron School Board leveled his sights on Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett and Mayor Daniel Horrigan, saying, “Enough is enough. No more task forces, no more committees. We need justice and action. We need real solutions, and we need it now.” He continued by demanding community control of the police, “We need a citizen oversight committee for the police, to have real oversight over their policy and their actions.”
Another speaker demanded that the eight officers involved in the shooting either be immediately fired or placed on an unpaid suspension.
Several hours later, another march started forming at Grace Park. Public outrage from the morning’s press conference was clearly apparent as the crowd dwarfed the earlier event and had a car caravan. Protesters made a three-mile trek through downtown Akron to John R. Buchtel Community Learning Center, where Jayland Walker attended high school. Upon arriving, the crowd raised their fists in the air and observed a moment of silence before hearing from Walker family members. Speakers echoed the earlier sentiments and mourned Walker’s unnecessary death, another stated that “We will stop at nothing less than justice.”
Protesters have continued to gather outside of the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center throughout the night, and further marches are planned to continue over the following days.