AKRON, Ohio – The family of an unarmed Black man killed in a hail of police bullets disputed some claims made by authorities when they released video footage of the tragedy to the public.
The city canceled its Fourth of July fireworks show Monday and issued a downtown curfew as stunned residents and city leaders await the results of a state investigation into Jayland Walker's death.
Walker's family united with city officials in calling for protests of last week's shooting to remain peaceful. The family's attorneys criticized police for "wanting to turn (Walker) into a masked monster with a gun."
Lawyer Bobby DiCello accused Police Chief Steve Mylett of assembling some of the footage released Sunday to fit a narrative that supports the use of deadly force by the eight officers involved. The shooting took place minutes after Walker drove away from what Mylett said would have been a "routine traffic stop."
Mylett said video from the ensuing chase appears to show Walker shooting from the car window. That changed the incident from a routine stop to a public safety issue, Mylett said.
The videos show officers converging on Walker's silver Buick sedan at the end of the car chase. Walker exited the car in a ski mask, and Mylett said Walker apparently reached toward his waist during a foot chase and briefly turned toward officers who then fired.
'HEARTBREAKING FOOTAGE': Akron police release video of Jayland Walker being shot up to 60 times: Live updates
When shown the video last week before its public release, DiCello said Mylett wasn't so sure Walker threatened officers.
"The chief said he did not see the movement that put the officers in fear," DiCello said.
Mylett said the medical examiner found about 60 wounds on Walker's body, although the exact number of shots fired had not been determined.
"The law requires the use of force that is reasonable," DiCello said. "We've heard numbers as high as 95 shells on the ground. You'll see if you review this video over and over again, an officer drains his clip and reloads."
A gun was found on the front seat of Walker's sedan, but Mylett said Walker was not armed when he was shot.
Mylett released information but not names on the eight officers involved. Their length of service ranges from 1½ to six years; five are at the 2½-year mark. Seven are white. One is Black. One is female. The officers were placed on administrative leave.
After several days of peaceful protests – including a full day of marches after police released the bodycam footage – police response escalated as intermittent violence broke out downtown Sunday night.
Around 10 p.m., a large crowd rallied at the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center, chanting demands for justice for Walker. Some people hurled water bottles and other objects at the building. Trying to keep the peace, protesters called for calm and kicked out a person who was pulling down a street sign.
"We have to honor the Walker family's wishes," Davontae Winchester, a march organizer, said. "If you did not come here to be peaceful and stand in solidarity, this is not the place for you."
Contributing: Molly Walsh, Tawney Beans and Jim Mackinnon, Akron Beacon Journal
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Akron police shooting: Jayland Walker not 'masked monster with a gun'