AKRON, Ohio — Following the release of bodycam footage Sunday showing the shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker by Akron police, peaceful demonstrations in the afternoon became more aggressive overnight, with various forms of property damage and alleged arson leading to roughly 50 arrests.
Mayor Dan Horrigan subsequently ordered a downtown curfew from 9 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday. While there were more protests during the Fourth of July holiday (including one outside Horrigan's one home), all remained peaceful and the streets were all but cleared by 9 p.m., and authorities reported "no significant incidents" as well as zero arrests overnight.
With the situation appearing to be growing calmer, Horrigan has announced the curfew will remain in effect only for one more night, once again from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. It will then be lifted at the latter time, "absent additional public safety concerns."
The mayor released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"I want to again thank all those who have protested peacefully in our community over the last several days. Citizens have a right to make their voices heard, and I fully support that. The community respected the curfew which we put in place last night and did not further damage our downtown corridor. I expect tonight to be the same. In an effort to support all those who are peacefully protesting, I plan to lift the curfew in our downtown footprint starting tomorrow. As always, public safety remains our top priority and I urge our community to report any instances or threats of violence or destruction so that a small group of agitators does not cause further damage to our city and small businesses."
The release of the bodycam video showing eight officers, seven of whom were white, shooting Walker, who was Black, dozens of times following a car chase sparked outrage through the community, and as the sun set on Sunday, several downtown businesses had their windows smashed and fires were set in the area. With the curfew ordered, such businesses and other establishments were forced to close, and several fireworks displays, as well as the scheduled Akron RubberDucks game, were either canceled or postponed (the Ducks will resume play at Canal Park tomorrow at 5:05 p.m. against the Altoona Curve).
The mayor's office had given no indication it planned to call in the Ohio National Guard to help quell the situation, and the Black Elected Officials of Summit County issued a statement calling on Horrigan not to do so. When reached by 3News Monday, a spokesperson for Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed he was monitoring the situation but had received "no local request for assistance."
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently handling the inquiry into Walker's death, with Attorney General Dave Yost pledging to interview "anyone who knows anything."