Ohio police released graphic body cam video and additional details Sunday regarding the shooting of Black motorist Jayland Walker. It shows for the first time that eight officers fired a barrage at Walker while he ran.
Akron officers stated that they attempted to stop Walker, 25, in Akron on June 27, for unspecified traffic violations. Police also said that they chased him after he didn't pull over. Police stated that officers reported that a firearm was discharged from the suspect's vehicle during the pursuit.
Walker then jumped from his car and was chased by officers on foot, police claimed.
Police stated that the suspect's actions caused officers to believe he was a threat to their lives. Officers responded to the threat by firing their guns, striking the suspect.
At a Sunday news conference, police stated that Walker's car was pursued by officers on the expressway for several moments before being able to exit on a ramp.
Police said that Walker got out of his car through the passenger side doors as it continued rolling forward after the chase in the city streets. According to the department's retelling, officers tried to stop Walker with stun guns but were unsuccessful and opened fire on him.
Police Chief Steve Mylett didn't know about the traffic violations or equipment violations that were cited when he pulled Walker over.
Mylett stated that eight officers were placed on paid administrative leaves as part of protocol for a police shooting. The investigation into police force use of force will be led by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) of Ohio's attorney general.
Sunday's statement by the Akron chapter of Fraternal Order of Police stated that it believes investigators can find justification for the officers' actions as well as the number of shots.
The statement stated that officers reasonably believed Mr. Walker posed a threat of severe physical harm or death, and they lawfully... discharged weapons.
Walker's family has raised concerns about the use of deadly force. Bobby DiCello, an attorney representing the family, stated that he had reviewed the video from the body camera with the family on Thursday. The body camera video was released by police Sunday by the eight officers who opened fire on the victims and five other officers.
DiCello stated that Walker was fleeing police officers when they shot at them and that he had not yet seen evidence about the allegations that Walker shot at officers.
He said, "They descend upon them, and the two first officers there use Tasers." He stated, "There is no doubt that he was not armed when he left the vehicle." When you have a threat that is not lethal, it's nonlethal force.
DiCello stated that Mylett didn't claim that Walker made any threats during his last week's viewing. This would not have justified Walker's killing.
He said that the chief had told them Thursday that he couldn't find the movement that caused this shot when he showed it to us.
DiCello said Saturday to the Akron Beacon Journal that many shots were fired.
DiCello stated to the newspaper that he was in a sprint and is being dropped by "I think the count is more then 90 shots." "Now, how many land? According to our investigation right this moment, we're receiving details that suggest 60-80 wounds."
WKYC of Cleveland, NBC affiliate of NBC, reported that Walker was struck dozens of times. NBC News has yet to receive a copy the autopsy report.
Mylett confirmed that Walker was ill. However, he did not distinguish between exit and entrance wounds.
"We don't know how many rounds were fired. Based on the video, however, I expect that number to be very high. Mylett stated that it would not surprise me if the number at end of the investigation matches the one circulated in the media. However, right now, we don't know.
When asked about DiCello's comment about Walker not brandishing a gun at officers and Mylett replied that the investigation was still ongoing and it was difficult to get details from the video in real-time.
Police said that a handgun and loaded magazine were found in the driver's seat. Mylett stated that police returned to the scene after hearing Walker's gun fire.
"A casing was found at that location consistent to a firearm Mr. Walker had in the vehicle." He said that the BCI would determine whether or not the casing was from the gun.
Mylett said that officers reported seeing Walker in a position they believed might be a firing position.
Walker was not found with a gun.
NBC News was told by DiCello that the gun seemed legal. He also stated that it was unloaded despite having ammunition nearby. He also refuted the assertion by the department that Walker fired one shot during the pursuit.
Walker said that he did not shoot. "The discharge of a firearm while you are surrounded by police does NOT allow the police to fire on you."
He said that although some white suspects are armed or open fire in the presence police, they will face their day in court. However, "my client" is currently in the morgue tonight. All he did was run from his car.
In a statement released Sunday, the Fraternal Order of Police stated that a camera from the state Transportation Department recorded Walker leading officers on the chase. Video police released Sunday showing the flash.
After the news conference, DiCello addressed reporters on behalf Walker's family and asked them to make peace after the release of the video.
DiCello stated, "I came to tell you what our message was, and that's peace." Please give peace if you can. Give justice a chance and show dignity.
In an interview on Sunday evening, he reiterated the wishes of his family, saying: "Please, peace, dignity, and justice for Jayland."
WKYC reported that the mood was tense as of Sunday night. There were temporary barriers in place, at least one broken window, and an apparent dumpster fire.
The station reported that officers in riot gear responded to the incident and tear gas was used near the Stubbs Justice Center and the adjacent police headquarters.
Early Monday morning, demonstrators seemed to have decreased in number, with many remaining congregating together in small groups.
Walker's lawyer, DiCello, stated at the news conference that he'd seen the video three times before he spoke Sunday, and that it was "no easier."
DiCello stated that they wanted to make him a masked monster equipped with a gun and that we knew this. "But I want you to acknowledge the chief for something he said at the time he shot him... he wasn't armed."
DiCello raised a variety of concerns to reporters regarding the investigation. He also asked if officers had provided statements to the attorney general's investigators before Sunday. He claimed that Walker told him that the gun was found in Walker's back seat. However, police now claim that it was in Walker's driver's seat.
Walker's girlfriend was killed a month prior to his death. DiCello stated that Walker's family didn't have any concerns about his behavior during his grief.
"It was sad but he was trying to get through it. His family was as shocked as I am today. DiCello stated that they don't know what happened.
He also noted Walker's clean criminal record.
NBC News reviewed Walker's public records and found no criminal or civil records against him. Walker was only found with a 2017 speeding ticket from Akron Municipal Court.
Protesters peacefully protested in Akron for several days demanding more transparency in Walker's murder.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers' star, said on Twitter that he was praying for Akron before Sunday's news conference.
Mayor Dan Horrigan cancelled the city's Fourth of Jul celebrations amid ongoing protests. He said now was not the right time to host a city-led celebration.
Before the video was released on Sunday, Horrigan encouraged residents to be peaceful, citing Walker’s family's desire that they refrain from violence.
Horrigan stated, "You're going have to do one the most difficult thing I can ever ask anyone to be patient with and that is to let the attorney general do his work."
WKYC reported that a rally was planned after the news conference. Several protestors gathered peacefully to hear speeches from local clergy.
In a Sunday statement, Derrick Johnson, President of NAACP, described Walker's death as a "murder", and stated that pulling over for police is often a death sentence.