Jacob Blake's dad, Breonna Taylor's aunt arrested at Jayland Walker protest in Akron

·4 min read

Protests over the Akron police shooting death of Jayland Walker continued into Thursday, one day after the lifting of a night-time downtown curfew.

The protests, recorded by numerous people and sometimes broadcast live using smartphones, are getting widespread distribution on social media with its potential global audience.

The killing of Walker on June 27 by Akron police continues to draw strong attention across the nation, with high-profile critics of police violence from out of state coming to the city and being among the people arrested Wednesday and early Thursday morning.

The ongoing protests, including confrontations with law enforcement and arrests, are appearing on social media sites that include Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

Seven more people were arrested on Wednesday night and early Thursday, including one man seen on video resisting arrest and being punched by an Akron officer. (See above video.)

What happens next?: State, local investigations of Akron police shooting could take a year

Akron police confirmed they needed to use force in arresting two men, ages 55 and 37, who are both from North Carolina. The 55-year-old man, believed to be Jacob Blake, the father of a man shot and paralyzed by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020, was taken to a local hospital for observation, police said.

Police said they moved in to make arrests about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the downtown outside the Stubbs Justice Center after protesters blocked traffic on High Street and disregarded orders to disperse. Police said they used tear gas to clear the area.

Hours earlier, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan lifted a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the downtown, saying he hoped people would remain peaceful.

These most recent protests did not result in no reported additional damage downtown, where many businesses had to board up broken windows in the aftermath of violent outbreaks earlier in the week.

Jayland Walker: What we know — and still don't know — about the police shooting death

The video of Blake, in particular, stood out and was believed to have been filmed by Bianca Austin, 41, of Louisville, Ky. She is the aunt of Breonna Taylor, a medical worker who was shot and killed by Louisville police in a March 2020 raid on her apartment in that city.

Akron police in riot gear guard the emergency entrance to Cleveland Clinic Akron General during a lockdown late Wednesday night.
Akron police in riot gear guard the emergency entrance to Cleveland Clinic Akron General during a lockdown late Wednesday night.

Shortly thereafter, there was a significant police presence outside Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital. Blake was still hospitalized there Thursday, local activists said.

Police said they went to the hospital because a group of nearly 100 protesters had blocked Wabash Avenue near the hospital, making it difficult for vehicles to get to the emergency room entrance. The hospital was on lockdown and emergency services temporarily redirected until the street and a parking lot were cleared, police said.

Akron Municipal Court records showed Blake, 55, of Winston Salem, North Carolina, who was charged with riot, resisting arrest, failure to disperse and disorderly conduct. All are misdemeanors.

Austin, along with a man identified as Cortez Rice, 32, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, were arrested 12:30 a.m. Thursday by Akron police outside Summit County Jail at East Crosier Street, court records show. Austin was charged with riot, disorderly conduct, and failure to disperse.

Local activists held an 11 a.m. press conference Thursday where they denounced the "militarized occupation" of Akron, a place where there "are guns pointed at us with tear gas and pepper spray choking us."

A patient at Cleveland Clinic Akron General uses their cellphone as Akron police in riot gear maintain a security perimeter during lockdown at the emergency room entrance late Wednesday night.
A patient at Cleveland Clinic Akron General uses their cellphone as Akron police in riot gear maintain a security perimeter during lockdown at the emergency room entrance late Wednesday night.

Latest defendants from outside Akron

Of the 56 defendants who have made initial appearances in Akron Municipal Court since Tuesday, all but 18 listed Akron addresses.

But of the 12 arraignments in the past two days in Akron Municipal Court just three of the defendants listed Akron addresses.

Defendants have ranged in age from 18 to 56 years old.

One defendant was homeless. The defendants also included two from Cuyahoga Falls, three from Tallmadge, two each from Canton and Cleveland, two from Youngstown and one each from Atwater, Solon and Uniontown.

Four are from out of state including two from North Carolina and one each from Kentucky and Minnesota

Most faced charges of riot, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse during the protests and marches in and around downtown Akron and also outside of the Summit County Jail.

Others face charges of misconduct at an emergency and inciting violence and resisting arrest and misrepresenting their identity. None were charged with felonies.

One defendant is accused of causing damage during a related protest at the Arlington Plaza earlier this week.

Earlier interviews with Jacob Blake, Bianca Austin

Beacon Journal reporter Abbey Marshall spoke with Jacob Blake and Bianca Austin earlier this week.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Jayland Walker protest: Akron police arrest Jacob Blake, Bianca Taylor