Protests break out in Akron following grand jury decision in Jayland Walker death

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 9:42 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - It was an emotional day in Akron Monday following the grand jury verdict in the death of Jayland Walker.

The special grand jury selected by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost voted against indicting the eight Akron officers involved in the 2022 deadly shooting of Jayland Walker.

The officers shot and killed Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, on June 27, 2022, after an attempted traffic stop that led to a police chase.

For most of the afternoon, downtown Akron remained quiet but at around 7:45 Monday evening a group began to gather at South Main Street and East Wilbeth Road, the location where 25-year-old Jayland Walker was shot to death by Akron police officers last June.

More than a hundred protestors flooded the area, holding signs that said “Justice for Jayland” and calling for accountability for the eight officers involved in the young man’s death. The group parked their cars in the middle of the street to block traffic. Then things started to get out of hand. A driver almost ran over a protestor and then amidst the chaos 19 News crews on the scene heard several gunshots.

19 News spoke with some of the protestors who said they’ve been in the streets since last summer and their message is still the same.

“This could’ve been one of mine,” said protestor Raina Lasley. “I got a younger brother; I have nephews but in truth he was one of ours. He belonged to all of us. These people got away with murder; I mean how do you explain that? What do we do next?”

“Justice should be served like that’s not right,” said another protestor who wanted to be anonymous. “I don’t care what nobody says, nobody deserves to die like that. It doesn’t matter what you did. Like what if one of their kids got done like that like it could have been anyone of us, that’s why we out here, but we’re gonna get justice. We’re gonna get it!”

“I mean I can’t understand how we are supposed to understand 46 shots to someone’s body is okay,” said protestor Toni Weems. “He ran away, how is that threatening to them and to just keep on shooting its awful and I don’t know how we’re gonna get past that.”

The protestors went back and forth between the designated protest zone in downtown Akron, to the location where Walker was killed, and they ended the night with a protest near the I Promise School around 11:30 P.M. before dispersing for the night.