Akron Declares State of Emergency Amid Protests
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The city of Akron, Ohio, declared a state of emergency following the eruption of chaotic protests over the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker.
“Early yesterday, we had several peaceful protests in the downtown footprint related to the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker. These protests did not escalate to violence and destruction,” Mayor Dan Horrigan (D) said Monday in a statement.
“However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful,” Horrigan continued, noting “significant property damage” in downtown Akron.
“Small businesses up and down Main St. have had their windows broken. We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence,” he said.
Horrigan also announced that a curfew would be implemented downtown between 9 p.m. and 6 p.m. and canceled the fireworks scheduled for that night.
Protests erupted after police released body camera footage of Walker’s fatal shooting, showing eight officers firing a barrage of bullets at the 25-year-old as he fled a traffic stop last week. Walker’s body was found to have at least 60 gunshot wounds, according to Reuters.
“I fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble. What we have been calling for since the beginning, and what the Walker family and many community leaders and faith leaders have also urged, is peace,” Horrigan said.
Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said Walker had a gun in his car but left it on his front seat when he fled on foot. Police said that officers believed he fired a round from inside the vehicle before fleeing and that he was “moving into firing position” when he got out of his car.
A White House spokesperson called the footage “disturbing” and told Reuters that the Justice Department is closely monitoring the situation.