AKRON, Ohio — As protests and demonstrations continue following the police officer-involved fatal shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced that he's adjusting the city's downtown curfew to 11 p.m.-5 a.m., effective Monday, July 11.
"We appreciate all of those who have been able to peacefully demonstrate," Mayor Horrigan said at the first of his daily press briefings on Monday. "We have no serious safety concerns that would justify an earlier curfew at this time. In moving the curfew back several hours, we're also helping out our downtown businesses, who have struggled a little bit closing on the early times, with our downtown residents as well."
Along with protests, organizations such as the Freedom BLOC and NAACP Akron have issued demands to city and state officials asking for expedited collaboration.
"I'm certainly willing to meet with any group to talk about their concerns," Horrigan added. "But I'm not going to unilaterally agree to demands before a meeting."
Mayor Horrigan first implemented a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew on the Fourth of July last Monday, after approximately 50 people were arrested following protests and demonstrations that occurred after the city released disturbing bodycam footage showing officers' pursuit of Walker, and ultimately, his death. While the curfew was dropped after two nights, a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew was reinstated on Thursday, July 7, after seven people were arrested and Akron Police used "force" and some tear gas on crowd members the previous night.
That curfew remained in effect through this past weekend, with the City of Akron noting that no arrests occurred in connection with protests and demonstrations during that time.
The incident involving Walker took place just after midnight on Monday, June 27, when officers attempted to pull over his car for a traffic and equipment violation. Walker proceeded to lead the officers on a high-speed chase down East Tallmadge Avenue toward State Route 8.
At some point during the pursuit, police say that Walker fired a gun out of the window of his car. Among the footage released last Sunday was a traffic video that showed a flash coming out of Walker’s car that they say is consistent with a gunshot.
Following the six-minute-long chase, Walker exited the car on Wilbeth Road near the Bridgestone Tire offices while wearing a black ski mask. The footage shows officers attempting to deploy non-lethal tasers before firing their guns and striking Walker, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting. While Horrigan couldn't confirm how man shots were fired at Walker, he said that he expected the number to be "high" and that the initial medical reports showed that he had 60 bullet wounds.
Police said that they fired their guns because Walker made a motion that caused them to fear for their lives. Mylett said that while it is difficult to see in a real-time viewing of the video, screen captures from the footage show Walker making multiple movements -- including Walker moving his hand to his waist area, turning toward the officers and making a forward motion with his arm -- that he said that each officer involved believed to be Walker moving into a “firing” position.
A gun, magazine round, and gold wedding ring were found in the passenger seat of Walker’s car. Mylett said that officers attempted to perform life-saving aid at the scene before Walker was pronounced dead.
Per department policy, the officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave. Seven of the eight officers involved were white and none had previously faced work-related discipline. Walker is Black.
The incident is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Walker family is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. on Monday to "denounce Akron Police violence against protesters."