Washington, July 4 – Police in the US state of Ohio have released body-camera footage of the fatal shooting of African-American Jayland Walker by multiple officers last week.
The release of the footage on Sunday came almost a week after the shooting took place on June 27 in Akron as officers attempted to pull over Walker on unspecified traffic violations, according to the city’s Police Department.
The officers were said to have chased Walker’s vehicle on the expressway for several minutes, reports Xinhua news agency.
Walker then allegedly jumped out of his car while the footage showed officers pursuing him on foot before opening fire.
The police department said officers “reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle” during the encounter.
Walker, 25, suffered more than 60 gunshot wounds and was unarmed at the time, according to Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett.
Eight officers who were directly involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave as part of the protocol in a police shooting, Mylett said.
The city had contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and requested an independent investigation into the incident. The process is underway.
Walker’s family has questioned the use of deadly force against him by the officers.
An attorney for the family, Bobby DiCello, said that he has not seen any evidence yet regarding allegations that Walker had shot at officers and that the man was unarmed and fleeing when being shot.
Protesters have taken to the street in Akron for several days in a row to oppose police brutality and racism, and demand justice for Walker.
Akron cancelled its Independence Day celebrations after protests broke out in the wake of Walker’s death.
“I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend. Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.”
NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) President Derrick Johnson said in a statement that Walker’s death wasn’t self-defense, but “was murder. Point blank”.
“This doesn’t happen to white people in America,” Johnson said. “We are just trying to live our lives, and we are tired of being hunted like prey. We know that pulling over for the police is often a death sentence.”
African-Americans are nearly three times more likely to be killed by police than white people in the United States, according to data from Mapping Police Violence.