Jayland Walker was a 25-year-old Akron, Ohio native that was tragically shot dozens of times in a car chase with the police. A common defense (for the officers) in cases featuring Black Americans murdered by police is offering up their previous criminal record. This was difficult in the case of Jayland Walker, as he had no prior criminal record.
Despite this, all charges against the eight police officers were officially dropped in April 2023. All eight officers have since been reinstated to the Akron police department, with the commissioner stating it was due to insufficient numbers on the force.
An autopsy showed that Jayland Walker had no alcohol or drugs in his system. It also showed that he had been shot 46 times by the eight officers while fleeing from his car. In this article, we will briefly examine the events surrounding this tragedy and the confusing details of the case.
Jayland Walker’s Police Chase
As a bit of background, Jayland had been going through a rough patch involving the death of his fiancé as well as confirmed searches inquiring about “the quickest ways to die” and “drinking bleach.” Because of this, some people have theorized that he might have tried suicide by cop, though this still struggles to justify why police shot Walker 46 times.
On the night of June 25th, Walker had allegedly escaped pursuit by local police. A day later, he had begun driving around town for what was estimated to be about two and a half hours. The destination seemed irrelevant, and he was not clocked into the two food delivery jobs (DoorDash & Uber Eats) that he regularly worked.
Late in the evening, he returned to the spot where he had been chased the night prior. Roughly an hour later, his car was spotted by two officers who observed that his plate light was out. Reports are conflicting about whether they initially decided against pursuit, though we do know that by 12:30 a.m.; the police did attempt to pull the vehicle over.
Walker did not stop for the police, and a chase ensued where it is reported that Walker fired off one round out of his window before continuing the chase. Quickly after, more police cars joined the chase. After a couple of minutes, Jayland leapt from the car – leaving his gun and magazine – and went sprinting away from the cops.
It should be stated that when Walker leapt from the still-moving car, he was wearing a ski mask. Some of the police officers giving chase tried to subdue him with tasers, though all missed. Just moments later, the police started firing dozens of shots at the fleeing Walker.
After the flurry of shots ended, police handcuffed Walker, who later died at the scene.
The death was declared a homicide by the local medical examiner’s office.
The Events After Jayland Walker’s Homicide
The shooting made national news and caused a large number of protests throughout Akron, Ohio. The biggest criticism was that the bodycam footage ended directly after the shooting took place. This meant that several concerned citizens had to go on the word of officers who were facing potential criminal charges.
The protests were justifiably heated, and it got to the point that officers had to put barricades around the perimeter of the Akron Police Department.
In Walker’s car was a handgun, a wedding ring, and a pistol magazine. They also recovered the bullet casing of the shot he fired off in the car chase. The officers responsible for Walker’s tragic end were put on paid leave and were reinstated four months after the night of the shooting.
Less than a year later, it was concluded that no charges would go forward against the eight police officers involved. The response was not well-received, and another protest broke out, which ended with a few broken windows in local businesses.
The Walker family has decided to pursue other legal options, opting for a civil lawsuit against Akron, Ohio, and the eight officers involved in the death of Jayland Walker.