LeBron James’ hometown is on edge Thursday evening as details of the police killing of a Black man come to light.
Jayland Walker, 25, was killed late Monday after a traffic stop in Akron, Ohio, that turned into a brief chase. It’s not clear at this point what initiated the original stop or why it turned into a pursuit that reportedly reached speeds up to 80 miles an hour.
But one thing has come into view: Walker was struck more than 60 times by bullets fired by police, who in total fired some 90 rounds at him. Akron Police—we’re obligated to point out that cops are frequently caught lying about their use of force —have said that gun was fired from Walker’s car.
Journalists from Cleveland’s WKYC report that they were able to review a preliminary autopsy report and view photos of Walker’s body under an open record law. What they saw, and what even law enforcement is saying behind the scenes, is disturbing.
The volume of gunfire and extensive wounds have caused police and city officials to prepare for potential public backlash. The response is expected to only intensify when Akron Police release body camera footage in the coming days.
“Use of force cases are always ugly. This case is ugly times 10,” a police official familiar with the shooting told 3News Investigates. The official is not authorized to speak publicly about the shooting.
Using a public records law that provides access to autopsy documents, 3News Investigates viewed photos of Jayland Walker’s bullet-riddled body, along with the dozens of bullet fragments removed during the autopsy.
The final autopsy report has not yet been put in writing, Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler said. That report is expected to be released this week.
Walker’s death has been ruled a homicide, Kohler’s office said Wednesday.
However, the photos provided Wednesday confirm what police sources had previously told 3News Investigates: Eight officers fired more than 90 shots, causing more than 60 wounds to Walker’s body.
3News Investigates examined autopsy records, including about 150 photos of Walker’s wounds and about 60 photos of bullet fragments. A large majority of the wounds were to the front of Walker’s body. Wounds could be seen from his face down to his lower legs.
Some wounds were depicted on his back, but it is unclear if the marks are entrance or exit wounds.
The Akron Beacon-Journal reported that despite his fatal wounds, cops on scene actually handcuffed Walker while he was on the ground and waited for a medical examiner to show up and pronounce his death.
The paper also reported that on Thursday protesters gathered at the Akron Police headquarters and blocked traffic, though the crowds didn’t approach the scale of the mass protests of police brutality seen in cities in 2020. Walker’s family is urged nonviolent demonstrations but is demanding answers, and justice, for their slain relative.