Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan passed a resolution declaring the day of Jayland Walker’s funeral as a citywide day of mourning, according to ABC News. After days of unrest and violent protests, tensions rose between the Akron police department and city residents. The city may expect more demonstrations following Jayland’s funeral service.
“Tomorrow, Jayland Walker, a beloved son, brother, nephew, and friend will be laid to rest. I want to thank Akron City Council for passing this resolution declaring tomorrow a day of mourning, in support of Jayland’s family and friends and to respect them in their time of grief. I know our entire city is also grieving. I offer my sincerest condolences to Jayland’s mom, sister, family, and friends during this difficult time,” said Horrigan Tuesday, per ABC News.
Everyone who knew Jayland understood him to be a friendly, loving person, not the unruly criminal the Akron police had made him out to be. From family to sports coaches and school faculty, no one could see Walker bringing himself to fire a gun at police officers.
More from NPR:
“You can tell he came from a good home, because he was polite, he was respectful,” says Brian Turner, formerly a dean of students at Buchtel High School in Akron, where Walker studied. “He would say things such as ‘please, thank you, excuse me’ — things some students kind of struggle with these days.”
On the wrestling team, Walker made friends with Tyler Cox, who remembered him as “one of the funniest people you would ever meet.” Cox says Walker was a leader — a captain during his sophomore year on the team and someone who spent his summers volunteering to help coach the youth team underneath them.
Their coach during that time was Robert Hubbard, who says Walker wasn’t just a “really sweet kid,” but also one of the most motivated wrestlers he can remember.
“Wrestling as a high school sport is probably the toughest one out there, so if I’m saying you’re a hard worker, you’re a hard worker,” says Hubbard.
According to NPR, Walker’s father, Pete, died in 2018 and his fiancee died earlier this year from a fatal car crash. Loved ones cited Walker’s grief as a way to make sense of why he’d end up in a police chase. Reports say Walker had no criminal record.
Walker’s funeral will be held at the Akron Civic Theater at 1 p.m. The Akron Beacon Journal reported snow plow trucks were placed on the streets to allow demonstrators to protest in a traffic free area. A press conference will also follow the service to discuss further the tragic incident.