Akron’s Police Oversight Board meets for 1st time since grand jury decision not to charge officers who fatally shot Jayland Walker

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 11:15 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The deadly shooting of Jayland Walker by Akron Police was the impetus to create a citizen’s review board in Akron. As the 9-member board met for the first time since a Grand Jury decided not to criminally charge the 8 officers who fatally shot Walker -- the group was still working to determine what power they will have when it comes to police policies, procedures, and discipline for officers.

Kemp Boyd, who is the Chairman of the Akron Citizen’s Oversight Board tells 19 News, when the internal investigation into the Walker shooting is complete, the group will work with the internal police auditor to determine what’s fair.

“I think the citizens have a right to want to know a little bit more about that and to expect some things from us within reason, some are a little out of our per view. We have to flush out what that looks like,” Boyd said.

But, several members of the public are already calling on the board to take action, as they accused police of targeting or retaliating against protesters who are standing up for Jayland Walker. A woman named Theresa who has lived in Akron for 20 years told the board, “It seems like there’s some definite retaliation from police against the protesters.”

Ben Holda accuses Akron police officers of being blatant and indisputably wrong with their treatment of protesters, and he’s calling on the board to condemn those actions, “As soon as people leave the group, leave the eyes of the press, they are hunted down and arrested for things like failure to wear a seatbelt.”

However, the most recent charges against protesters included having a loaded gun, and reckless operation of a moving vehicle.

19 News did reach out to Akron Police for a response, and they said in part, “We do respect the right for people to protest and we extended grace and latitude in every possible way. It is not our goal to take those steps, only in extreme circumstances when the situation poses a potential hazard to public safety, and blocks streets to emergency vehicles.”