On Monday, a grand jury decided not to indict the Akron police officers who shot and killed 25-year-old Jayland Walker, saying the officers were legally justified in their use of force.
Last June, Walker, 25, was driving and being pursued by police when they claim he fired a gunshot.
The report further alleged that when Walker finally stopped there was a gun on the passenger seat, though FOX 8 reports that he was described as “unarmed” by investigators.
“He reached for his waistband in what several officers described as a cross-draw motion, planted his foot and turned toward the officers while raising his hand,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Only then did the officers fire, believing Mr. Walker was firing again at them.”
Walker was then shot at least 46 times. He has no criminal record.
After a 10-month-long investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, it was determined that Jayland Walker was severely depressed before his death and was still grieving his fiancee, who was killed in a car crash just a month before his death.
From Akron Beacon Journal:
Text messages between Walker and his mother in the 48 hours before his death showed how Walker was having trouble coping after his fiancee’s death. He couldn’t even watch television, Walker told his mother.
“It reminds me of her,” Walker texted his mom.
Pam Walker responded: “I pray for you day and night that God helps you through this and try to give you some peace. I love you so much Jayland.”
The last text message Walker sent his mom arrived at 1 p.m. June 26. “I know you good mom it really all Good love you too,” he texted, according to the report.
Jayland Walker was having a mental health crisis before his death.
Investigators tried to claim Walker’s death was a suicide by cop, but his best friend Dupri Whatley, pushed back on those allegations, claiming he never told police that Walker asked him about how to get “police to shoot him.”
“No, he never, I never said that,” Whatley said. “I said that Jayland knew, knew better. But I never said them words. I just said I don’t, I don’t know what was going on,” Whatley said, the report said.
Jayland Walker might not have been in the right state of mind when he encountered police on the day he was killed. But he didn’t deserve to die, and the officers who took his life instead could have tried to help a grieving man. Now no one will be held accountable for his death and his mother will have to grieve for the rest of her life.
Akron city officials have set up a “demonstration zone” located in downtown Akron outside City Hall and in front of the police department for “peaceful, civil, demonstrations, city spokesperson Mark Williamson told CNN.
The protest zone will be open 24 hours a day, for the next seven days
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