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Grand jury declines to criminally charge 8 Akron officers involved in Jayland Walker's death

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost made the announcement, saying a BCI investigation confirmed Walker 'had fired on the police and that he shot first.'

AKRON, Ohio — Nearly 10 months after Jayland Walker was killed in a shooting by Akron police, a grand jury has declined to file criminal charges against the eight officers involved in his death.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost made the announcement during a Monday afternoon press conference. Jurors issued a "no bill" decision, with Yost stating they felt the officers' use of deadly force against Walker was justified by state law.

LIVE BLOG: More on today's grand jury decision

"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."

At the request of the Akron Police Department, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation handled the probe into Walker's death, completing its work last month. From the outset, Yost had pledged the inquiry would be "objective, professional, and independent."


The incident began around 12:30 a.m. on the morning of June 27, when Walker led officers on a pursuit along multiple streets. State prosecutors confirmed police had been attempting to pull Walker over for a broken tail light, and that the same vehicle had been involved in a similar chase the previous night in New Franklin.

Of particular issue for both prosecutors and jurors was whether or not Walker had fired a gun at authorities during the chase, and officers had reported seeing a muzzle flash from Walker's vehicle. Investigators later found a shell casing on the State Route 8 entrance ramp, and officials say it did indeed match the Glock that was later found in Walker's car.

"There is no doubt that [Walker] did, in fact, shoot at police officers," Yost declared.

The vehicle slowed down near East Wilbeth Road and Clairmont Avenue, and Walker eventually got out of the car in the parking lot of Bridgestone while wearing a ski mask. Yost said Walker ignored "multiple commands by officers to show his hands and to stop," and that officers attempted to use a taser before Walker "reached for his waistband in what several officers described as a cross draw motion, planted his foot and turned toward the officers while raising his hand." It was only then that officers fired more than 90 rounds, with at least 45 hitting Walker.

"The officers did not know at the time Mr. Walker had left his recently purchased gun in his car," the AG said, adding that his earlier gunshot could be classified as a "deadly threat" that would allow officers to use deadly force to defend their own lives.

The eight officers, who have not been identified, were placed on administrative leave in according with department protocol before returning to work and assigned to administrative duty months later in October. 3News previously reported none would testify before the grand jury.


Walker's death led to protests across Akron and even nationally, especially following the release of body camera video of the shooting that showed Walker's death in graphic detail.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office later released a report saying Walker had 46 entrance/graze wounds as a result of the shooting, which were listed as follows:

  • 17 gunshot wounds injured the pelvis and upper legs, causing internal injury to the right iliac artery (a major artery going to the leg), the bladder and fractures to the pelvis and both upper leg bones (femurs).
  • 15 gunshot wounds injured the torso, and caused internal injury to his heart, lungs, liver, spleen, left kidney, intestines and multiple ribs.
  • One bullet struck the face and fractured the jaw.
  • Eight gunshot wounds injured the arms and right hand.
  • Five gunshot wounds injured the knees, right lower leg and right foot.

"It is unusual, although hardly unprecedented, to have this many officers firing their weapon at the same time at a single subject," Yost admitted today. "The sheer number of shots is one of the things that makes the video so hard to watch. Multiple officers each making an independent judgment about a threat and acting independently to neutralize that threat creates a dynamic that amplifies the use of force exponentially."

Toxicology screenings were negative for drugs and alcohol, and Walker had no prior criminal history. Officials also listed the following "evidence of medical intervention" on Walker's body to determine of officers attempted to help him after being shot:

  • Tourniquets on his legs and left arm.
  • Gauze dressings to his chest and abdominal wounds.
  • Adhesive seals over two chest wounds.
  • Defibrillator pads on his chest.


Before the grand jury was seated, Akron's chief city prosecutor Craig Morgan explained the process as detailed below...

What is the grand jury?

“A grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence," Morgan explained in Friday's press conference, which you can watch in full below. "The purpose of the grand jury is to determine whether sufficient probable cause exists to charge a person or persons with a particular offense or offenses. If the grand jury determines that there’s sufficient probable cause to charge an individual with an offense, that formalizes the complaint into an indictment, and it starts the traditional criminal justice process.”

Note: You can watch Morgan's full explanation, which we streamed live on April 7, in the video below:

How is a grand jury picked?

He explained the selection process for seating a grand jury is "much like a lottery system."

“Every citizen who is at least 18 years of age, a resident of Summit County and registered to vote, is a potential grand juror," he continued.

How a grand jury makes their decision

“A trial jury requires a unanimous vote," Morgan said. "That means all the jurors must vote if somebody is guilty or not guilty. That is not the case for a grand jury. In a grand jury, nine people will hear the matter. It requires seven of nine people to agree that there’s probable cause to charge somebody.”


True bill vs. no bill

“A true bill means that a person has been indicted, and that there is now formal felony charges pending against a person or persons," he explained. "What would happen next is the traditional criminal justice process. That person would then be arraigned before a judge. There would be various pretrial conferences where a prosecutor and a defense attorney determine what’s going to happen in the case. Is the individual going to resolve the matter and plead guilty? Is the individual going to want their trial?”

A no bill, however, means the grand jurors did not find sufficient probable cause to charge a person with a particular offense. 

“It represents a closure of the criminal matter against that individual. There’s certainly other things that may happen, but that person isn’t going to be subject to any further criminal culpability.”

The city also recently relaunched their Akron Updates site, which officials aid will provide the following details:

  • Grand jury explanation and information
  • Mental health resources
  • Information on upcoming demonstration zone
  • Real-time road closure information
  • Press conference(s) and releases
  • Critical, real-time downtown safety updates
  • Social media links
  • Akron Police Department transparency hub


Yost's office has since posted the full details from its investigation online for all to see, and the AG noted this decision "does not resolve any potential civil action that might be brought for wrongful death." It also remains possible the United States Department of Justice could open a federal case, and it remains to be seen if a separate investigation by the Akron Police Department could lead to internal discipline against the officers.

"I do hope [Jayland Walker's family] will find some comfort in this: Ohio is unified today in mourning the loss of their son and family member," Yost added.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett also expressed their condolences in their own press conference, and called on the community to come together peacefully.

"No one wins; it's a loss for everyone," he said. "We have a lot of work to do to find a path forward, because in the end, we need each other. Where trust has been lost or fractured, we will work hard to earn it back."

Lawyers representing the Akron Fraternal Order of Police and three of the eight officers involved also released a statement saying, in part, "The eight Akron police officers involved in Jayland Walker use of force incident would like to thank the Grand Jury for their service in this difficult and tragic case."

Attorneys and supporters for the Walker family also spoke, with U.S. Rep. Emilia Sykes calling for the DOJ to investigate.

"We need to understand the process of how this department operates," Sykes stated. "The polices, the procedures, the training, and then start to look for solutions for more community-focused policing that serves the need for every segment of this community."

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