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Akron police on Sunday released bodycam footage showing officers fatally shoot 25-year-old Jayland Walker, an unarmed Black man, after a vehicle and foot pursuit last Monday.
Chief Steve Mylett said officers attempted to stop Walker’s car for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but less than a minute into a pursuit the sound of a shot was heard from the car and a transportation department camera captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash coming from the vehicle. Mylett said that changed the nature of the case from “a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue.”
Police said a few minutes later the car slowed and Walker emerged from the still-moving vehicle wearing a ski mask and fled on foot. After an unsuccessful attempt to use stun devices, the foot chase continued to a parking lot, at which point a crescendo of bullets can be heard.
Walker was unarmed at the time of the shooting, but a shot appeared to have come from the vehicle during the pursuit, and officers said they feared he was preparing to fire when they discharged their weapons, authorities said.
Mylett said he has watched the video dozens of times and Walker’s actions at the time are hard to distinguish, but a still photo seems to show him “going down to his waist area” and another appears to show him turning towards an officer and a third picture “captures a forward motion of his arm.”
A handgun, a loaded magazine and a wedding ring were found on the seat and a casing consistent with the weapon was later found at the point where officers believed a shot came from the vehicle.
“Each officer independent of each other related that they felt that Mr. Walker had turned and was motioning and moving into a firing position,” he said.
Akron police have pleaded for peace and patience from the community while the state investigation into the shooting continues. Mylett said he is withholding judgment on their actions until they give their statements, and he said the union president has told him that all are “fully cooperating” with the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.