AKRON, Ohio — The legal team for the family of Jayland Walker has responded after Akron residents voted to pass Issue 10 on Tuesday.
Nearly 62% of voters said yes to the issue, which will establish a permanent police oversight board in Akron.
"It gave the family a tremendous amount of relief. It gave them a tremendous amount of joy and frankly faith in their community that they were heard and that the community has stood up against police misconduct, and they did."
That was the reaction of Pam and Jada Walker late last night when the votes were in, according to family attorney Robert DiCello. Jayland Walker's mother and sister are ready to help create and shape the city's new police oversight board alongside other community members, like Freedom BLOC Executive Director Ray Greene Jr., who did a lot of campaigning for issue 10.
"What we've seen yesterday was the community, not just the Black community or the white community, but the community at large thirsting and dying for change," said Greene.
The passage of Issue 10 came nearly four months after Walker was shot and killed during an incident that involved eight Akron Police Officers on June 27 during an overnight chase.
The full statement from the legal team of the Walker Family, Bobby DiCello and Kennet Abbarno can be read below:
"The family of Jayland Walker is overjoyed and humbled by the passage of Issue 10 (Jayland’s Law) by their Akron community. Since the 1960s, Akron residents have asked their city leaders for citizen oversight of their police department. Until last night, those requests had been denied. The passage of Issue 10 allows Akron to join a growing number of cities that have turned to citizen oversight panels and independent police auditors to review incidents of police misconduct. Jayland’s family is proud to belong to the Akron community, a place where Americans used the democratic process to enact meaningful reform in honor of Jayland’s life and others who have lost their lives to police violence. Today is a day for optimism, though there is much work ahead. This is not the end of our effort to hold the city accountable for Jayland’s death. It’s just the beginning. And still, today Jayland’s family celebrates the fact that meaningful change came to Akron."
According to Akron police, Walker allegedly fired a shot at one point during the vehicle pursuit in June. It was discovered that Walker was unarmed when officers opened fire, but a gun was allegedly found in Walker's vehicle during the investigation.
The Summit County Medical Examiner determined that there were 46 graze/entrance wounds to Walker's body and that officers fired nearly 90 shots.
The following individuals and organizations have released statements following the passage as well:
The Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7
"The Fraternal Order of Police, Akron Lodge 7 acknowledges the passage of issue 10 that will create yet another layer of police oversight. However, even the biggest proponents of issue 10 in the days leading up to election day admitted any oversight created must not violate the collective bargaining agreement between the FOP and the City of Akron. Union leadership and our union attorneys are available to discuss and advise those charged with creating this additional layer of police oversight who may not be familiar with the collective bargaining agreement."
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan
Horrigan has been supportive of a council approach to create an oversight board and says he'll back this initiative "as long as we're unified in moving forward."
The Freedom Bloc
"We are so honored and grateful to be a part of something so big in Akron, Ohio. From over 7,000 citizens signing a petition to countless volunteers, citizens, and organizations collaborating in unlikely ways, to ultimately over 29,500 Akronites checking the “YES” box on the ballot, Akron has spoken. Akron has said that we want change and we are ready and willing to fight for it by any means necessary.
With this historic win for community safety, Akron is standing up for police accountability, and this is only the beginning. You will continue to see us on the doors in every ward to find great candidates for the civilian oversight board. We will seek individuals to build a team of strong, diverse community leaders who will work with the administration to ensure we write the best legislation to ensure safety in our community.
Thank you to all the voters who made their voices heard and voted for a safer Akron, and to all the canvassers, volunteers, and community partners and members who contributed to this win. We are just getting started, and we are grateful for your trust in moving Akron forward together."
Recently, on Oct. 11, the Akron Police Department announced that the eight unnamed officers could return to work in an administrative capacity. Akron police cited a shortage of officers as the reason for their return.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is currently investigating the situation. Once complete, the case will be turned over to the Summit County Grand Jury for further evaluation.
So while they can be excited for Tuesday's results, the Walker family knows there's still a long way to go. "There are many steps yet to take," DiCello said. "There are potential court challenges this legislation could face, so we're just going to continue to extend a hand to city leadership and say, 'let's do this together.'"
More Jayland Walker coverage:
- Akron faith and community leaders write letter to police chief objecting to reinstatement of 8 officers who fatally shot Jayland Walker
- Breaking down why 8 Akron police officers involved in Jayland Walker fatal shooting are back at work
- 'Callous': Attorneys for Jayland Walker family react to Akron police reinstating 8 officers who fatally shot him
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Oct. 10, 2022.