The family of Jayland Walker says new details surrounding the young man’s death have cast even more doubt over an ongoing investigation.
Walker, 25, was fatally shot by officers on June 27. His death was preceded by a police chase following a failed attempt to stop Walker for a traffic violation. After exiting the vehicle and leading police on a foot pursuit, he was shot by eight officers who believed Walker was armed. A county medical examiner said Walker had a total of 46 gunshot wounds and injuries.
Akron Fraternal Order of Police President Clay Cozart said there was more to the incident than what Walker’s family and the public know. “They weren’t chasing him just because of an equipment violation,” said Cozart to ABC 5 in Cleveland. According to Cozart, Waker’s vehicle was involved in a brief police chase in the area of New Haven the night before he was killed. Police suspicion grew when the vehicle returned to the high crime area the following night.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is actively looking into Walker’s death. The young man’s family says trust in the investigation has been compromised after finding out that officers had an additional motive to pursue Walker.
“Nobody at (the Bureau of Criminal Investigation), nobody in the department, nobody in this family, nobody involved in this loss needs a union chief to clarify anything,” said Bobby DiCello, the family’s attorney. He continued, “What that does is now it creates questions as to the integrity of the investigation, and now we’ve got to stand and ask for an outside investigation, and we have to challenge the process that was given to us that we were asked to trust.”
While speaking with CNN, DiCello said, “Knowledge of investigative findings that have not been shared with the Walkers’ legal team have egregiously compromised the investigation.” In the wake of Walker’s killing, protests broke out across the city of Akron. The NAACP has also joined the Walker family in demanding the Department of Justice to conduct a separate investigation.