Following the brutal shooting of Jayland Walker, community residents and activists took to the streets to call for justice. However, some of these protests turned violent as police clashed with demonstrators, per local reports. Walker’s legal team and family issued a statement calling for non-violent demonstrations but also condemning the excessive force Akron police used on protesters.
Reports say multiple activists including Jacob Blake’s father were arrested while other demonstrators were tear gassed, beaten with batons or assaulted with bear mace. Walker’s attorney Bobby DiCello called out the city for not only the violence but also perpetuating the narrative that Jayland was to blame for the shooting.
“They began their press conference with a picture of [Jayland] in a mask. That says it all. They’re trying to turn him into someone to be afraid of. They’ve tried to make him the problem from day one,” said DiCello via press conference. He also said neither Police Chief Stephen Mylett nor Mayor Dan Horrigan made a public apology to the family to apologize for what happened.
More from Walker’s legal team and family:
While we are all appalled at what has transpired and are requesting an apology from the police department and the City of Akron and will be pursuing other transformative goals, violence in the streets will accomplish nothing and will only bring more anguish to our community. We are asking all residents to engage only in non-violent demonstration.
After a weekend of protests and more violence from police, Jayland Walker’s family is calling for an immediate end to the aggressive, violent tactics being used by the Akron police against protesters. They also are calling for all curfews to be lifted and an end to the city’s efforts to blame Jayland for the horrific and unjustified shooting that took his life.
DiCello said the city is missing the point that the community is not the problem, referring to the protests. Instead, he said the community needs the ability to express itself in a nonviolent way. He also urged the city to take action on adopting new policies like that regarding dash cams as well as prosecution against the officers responsible.
“We are angry. We’re hurting. And people should be able to demonstrate in a nonviolent way and that goes for our Police Department too - With it being a two-way street, we want to do this and do it right because we’re not going away until justice is served. But we want to do it with dignity. We want to do it with respect,” said Pastor Robert DeJournett.
The service for Walker will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday July 13 at Akron Civic Theater.