/  07.19.2022

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

While finding out the tragic news about my cousin Jayland during a phone call from my mother back in Akron, Ohio, I was speechless … shocked. My body became numb instantly from hearing the terrible news. It doesn’t seem real — like it must be a nightmare. To hear that he was killed by eight officers in the same city I was born and raised in is very hard to take in.

Jayland was an innocent young man that had dreams and goals. He was a great cousin to me, he would never hurt a soul or do any such thing as a crime. Jayland had never been in trouble with the law, never had a ticket, and never caused any problems. Jayland was the guy that if you had a daughter, you would want your daughter to be with him. He was loving, caring, quiet and a hard worker.

I can’t believe this is even happening. I’m very upset and hurt about it. I’m extremely upset with the Akron Police Department (APD) and how they handled the situation with Jayland. I just don’t understand. If the eight officers just gave him a chance or just spoke with him, he would still be with us now. The officers took a life away and that should have never happened — all because of a traffic violation and their assumption that he was a threat. How is a person a threat when the person is running away from someone? PLEASE EXPLAIN IT TO ME!

My family, the Akron community, and I are all hurting right now. Words can’t really explain the many emotions going on after our tragic loss and how it was handled. We WANT JUSTICE for what they did to Jayland. Being shot at over 60 times is unacceptable — people don’t shoot animals that many times. To shoot anyone that many times is execution. The other upsetting part of this tragic loss is that the eight officers still put Jayland in handcuffs after over 60 shots at him. The most cruel, disrespectful thing anyone can do.

Eight officers versus one innocent person, and the APD says he was a threat. The eight officers are the threat. These officers should have handled the situation the correct way and not with over 60 bullets. This is not the first time a tragedy like this has happened. From all the police officer shootings and killings of innocent people, you would think they would know how to handle situations like Jayland’s. As an African American, it’s very sad, upsetting and nerve-racking because you just don’t know what will happen as you are out and about, passing a police officer. You could be the next victim.

From myself, my family, and the Akron community, thank you to those who have been supporting us throughout this tragic loss. I thank you so much. Continue to keep us in your prayers. We will continue to hold peaceful protest walks around the city and across the country, and JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED.

– Marcus Ferguson (Cousin of Jayland Walker)

Editor’s note: Following an autopsy conducted by Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler, it has been learned that Jayland Walker was shot a total of 46 times by Akron police instead of the previously reported 60 shots.

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