In 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine encouraged a state policing board to evaluate vehicle pursuit policies based on suggestions made when he was state attorney general. The Akron Police Department may not have adhered to this standard and are under scrutiny for the death of Jayland Walker, an unarmed Black man who was killed by law enforcement last month.
He was shot 90 times by eight officers. It’s optional for Ohio police agencies to comply. However, the state has a certification process and monitors which departments have satisfied its conditions.
An assessment from the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board mandated that every police department modify its pursuit policy that would prohibit car chases “when the suspect is known to the officers or easily identifiable.” This would satisfy the state’s vehicle pursuit standard.
The family of Jayland Walker believes he was identifiable when Akron officers chased him from a highway onto city streets. However, it is allegedly unknown if police officers realized that Walker, 25, was the driver of the car from which he fled or whether they could have identified him as such.
The officers involved in the shooting were predictably put on administrative leave and the state attorney general’s office shared it would open up an investigation. Officers claim they found an unloaded handgun and a magazine in the driver’s seat of Walker’s car but there was not no weapon on his body.
There is absolutely no excuse or misunderstanding when it comes to what police did to Walker—especially when it comes how white criminal suspects are treated in comparison.