AKRON, Ohio — Amid protests and investigations over the police shooting of Jayland Walker, the City of Akron has canceled its Rib, White, & Blue Festival and fireworks display that was set to take place July 1-4.
All activities planned to take place at Lock 3 over the holiday weekend are now off. Vendors and musical acts have been notified and compensated, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a statement.
“I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend," Horrigan said. "Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family. Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.”
In the statement, the City encouraged residents to find alternative plans to celebrate the holiday.
3News Investigates reported on Wednesday that records show that eight Akron Police officers fired approximately 90 shots at Walker, striking him 60 times. The incident occurred in the early hours of Monday morning when Akron Police say they attempted to stop Walker’s car for a traffic infraction and equipment issue. Walker instead led the officers on a high-speed chase down East Tallmadge Avenue toward State Route 8.
At some point, police say Walker fired a gun. Sources tell 3News Investigates that one casing was found in Walker’s car and a second was found on the roadway near Route 8.
The 4 1/2-minute chase took police south on Route 8 with speeds reaching about 80 mph at times, police said. Walker, 25, eventually jumped out of the car on Wilbeth Road near the Bridgestone Tire offices.
Police say they first deployed their tasers but opened fire after they said Walker made motions that caused them to fear bodily harm. Eight officers unleashed a hail of gunfire that was captured on body cameras worn by the officers.
Sources told 3News Investigates that some of the last shots were fired while Walker’s body was on the pavement. Walker was on the ground dead when medical help arrived. Autopsy records show he was handcuffed after the shooting. He was not armed at the time he was shot, sources said. A gun was recovered inside Walker’s car, the same sources confirmed.
Body-camera footage of Walker's shooting is expected to be released in the coming days, Horrigan said Monday. In addition to the rib festival, the Akron Municipal Courthouse will also be closed Friday, and that part of town has been blocked off using dump trucks and snowplows.