AKRON, Ohio — In a seven-minute message posted on his YouTube page Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost addressed the state's investigation into the shooting death of Jayland Walker by the Akron Police Department.
The probe into Walker's death is being led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a division of the state attorney general's office.
"The investigation will be objective, professional, and independent," Yost pledged. "There are many questions about what happened. Was the force necessary? What led police to shoot a young man so many times? What could have been done to prevent this in the first place?"
Yost's message to Ohioans comes just days after the City of Akron released disturbing bodycam footage that showed eight officers firing several shots at Walker during the incident, which occurred just after midnight on June 27. Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said during the video's release that he couldn't confirm how many shots were fired at Walker, but stated that the number was "high," with initial medical reports indicating he had roughly 60 wounds.
While acknowledging that watching the video was among the most difficult things he has done in his career, Yost stressed that the footage was just a portion of the overall investigation.
"A few seconds of video does not provide us with the full picture, the full context of an incident that unfolded over many minutes, in many different locations. We have to let our investigators find the whole picture and seek out the truth, the whole truth, because that's what we all want is the truth," Yost stated.
Sunday's release of the bodycam footage of Walker's shooting led to multiple protests and demonstrations in downtown Akron, which resulted in approximately 50 arrests and the city enacting a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew on Monday and Tuesday night.
Walker, 25, was killed after he led Akron police on a four-minute chase that ended just after midnight Monday morning on East Wilbeth Road. Police say Walker fired his own gun during the pursuit.
The chase ended when Walker jumped from his slow-moving car and tried to run away. The officers then followed, with two firing Tasers that missed Walker. The shooting almost immediately followed as police say Walker’s movements posed a “deadly threat.”
Police later found a gun and bullet casing inside Walker’s 2005 Buick sedan.
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.
Yost says that a typical officer-involved shooting investigation requires at least 400 hours to complete. "That means weeks, sometimes months of painstaking work," he added. Once completed, BCI will then refer the case to the Summit County Prosecutor's Office and a grand jury, although Yost says his office has been asked to serve as special prosecutor moving forward.
"This case will be fully available to the public on the web as soon as we are legally allowed to share it. We understand that we have an obligation to everyone involved in this tragedy to determine exactly what happened and why. We owe that to Mr. Walker and his family and friends," Yost said.
You can watch Attorney General Dave Yost's full statement below:
During a swing through Cleveland on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said that the Department of Justice is closely monitoring the investigation into Walker's death at the hands of police in Akron. "If the evidence reveals potential violations of the federal criminal statutes, the Justice Department will take the appropriate action," the president said.
3News' Ben Axelrod and WBNS 10TV contributed to this story
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