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Akron police to conduct use-of-force investigation after video appears to show officer punching protester

Police say two men failed to comply with instructions and were arrested, and also claimed force was needed to make the apprehension.

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Police Department is investigating after video appeared to show officers punching a protester during Wednesday night's demonstration in the aftermath of the shooting death of Jayland Walker. 

The video was sent to 3News by a viewer. You can view it in the player above.

The Akron Police Department tells 3News that "any use of force, or an arrest that involves anything such as punches, kicks, strikes, are defined as reportable use of force. Incidents are always reviewed under the established guidelines and final determination as evaluated based on the 'totality of the circumstances.'"

More than 50 protesters gathered in front of the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center in Downtown Akron Wednesday evening. Police say they took action after individuals in the crowd began to disrupt the traffic flow on High Street.

According to authorities, officers gave protesters orders to disperse, and warnings were issued that arrests would be made if they did not comply. Two men failed to comply and were arrested after the APD says officers had to use force.

A 55-year-old and 37-year-old man were taken into custody. The two were from North Carolina and were charged with rioting, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse the crowd.

Akron police officials confirm one of the two men arrested was featured in the video. One of the men was taken to the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital for evaluation, and the other was taken to the Summit County Jail. Seven people in all were taken into custody.

Two people who have connections to unrelated police shootings in other states are among those who have been arrested since the demonstrations began in Akron. Records from Akron Municipal Court show Jacob Blake of Winston Salem, North Carolina, and Bianca Austin of Louisville, Kentucky, are facing multiple counts—including riot, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.

Austin is the aunt of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in a March 2020 police shooting in Louisville. Blake is the father of Jacob Blake Jr., who was left partially paralyzed following an August 2020 police shooting in Wisconsin.

Wednesday's protests—which included a lockdown at Akron General—resulted in Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan bringing back a curfew for the downtown area between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

3News' Ryan Haidet and Anna Meyer contributed to this story

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