AKRON, Ohio — Over one month after a special grand jury in Akron declined to indict the eight police officers involved in the shooting of Jayland Walker, the Akron community gathered once again to demand justice for Walker.
A "Justice for Jayland March" took place this afternoon. The march of hundereds began at the First Congregational Church on East Market Street before making its way to the John S. Seiberling Federal Building.
Following the march, a press conference occurred outside the federal building. 3News streamed the proceedings in their entirety.
"Jayland knows how much I love him and miss him," Walker's mother Pamela tearfully told the crowd. "His death has left me heartbroken ... and as a retired nurse, I understand where every bullet struck my son."
Walker's sister Jada also spoke, along with a host of others that included:
The following people were scheduled to appear at the press conference:
- The Walker family legal team from DiCello Levitt:
- Bobby DiCello
- Ken Abbarno
- Paige White
- Joe Fouché III
- Sabrina Foster, the mother of Glenn Foster, Jr., a former New Orleans Saints player who died while in the custody of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department
- Tiffany Rachal, the mother of Jalen Randle, a 29-year-old Black man killed by Houston police
- Marquetta Williams, the wife of James Williams, a 46-year-old Black man killed by Canton, Ohio police
- Michael Brown, Sr., the father of Michael Brown, Jr., an 18-year-old Black man killed by Ferguson, Missouri police
- Reverend Aaron Phillips, Cleveland Clergy Coalition
- A host of social justice activists:
- Reverend Raymond Greene, Freedom Bloc
- Marquell Bridges, Building Bridges for Community Unity and Progress
- Andrew Joseph, The Andrew Joseph Foundation
- Uncle Bobby X, The Oscar Grant Foundation
During the press conference, Bobby DiCello called on the U.S. Department of Justice "to get involved in the matter and issue a list of demands to ensure tragedies and injustices like this are not repeated."
DiCello also released a list of demands from the Jayland Walker Family Legal Team.
Akron presumptive Mayor-elect Shammas Malik also spoke prior to the demonstration.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced on April 17 that the grand jury decided no state criminal charges would be filed against the eight officers, citing that the law justified the officer's use of deadly force.
"Legal justification does not change the terrible, permanent damage of Jayland Walker's death," Yost said. "I grieve the loss of this promising young life, although I recognize that no words of mine can offer much comfort to his family."
The shooting of Walker happened on June 27 during a chase. Akron Police say that Walker had fired a shot at one point during a pursuit, but was unarmed at the time when officers opened fire while the chase continued on foot. Later that night, a gun was found in Walker's vehicle.
On Wednesday, DiCello called on lawmakers to pass what he called "Jayland's Law," which would "make it unlawful for officers to chase and pursue anyone involved and fleeing from a traffic stop." In addition, demonstrators say they plan to protest in Washington, D.C. on June 27, the first anniversary of Walker's death.
"My heart breaks," Pamela Walker said, "because the system that protects these officers stopped us from getting the answers and justice that we want."
The Summit County Medical Examiner determined that there were 46 graze or entrance wounds on Walker's body from the nearly 90 rounds fired.