Officers will not face state charges in Jayland Walker police shooting

Jayland Walker was fatally shot after a car and foot chase by police.

April 17, 2023, 6:21 PM

A grand jury has chosen not to indict officers on state criminal charges for the death of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old who was fatally shot after a car and foot chase by police on June 27, 2022, in Akron, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

"The grand jury just a little while ago issued what is called a no bill, meaning that there will be no state criminal action, no charges at the state level," Yost said in a Monday press conference.

Walker's family attorney Bobby DiCello, a national civil rights attorney, said they plan on filing a civil lawsuit concerning his death.

Officers have said they had attempted to pull Walker over for a traffic violation and an equipment violation with his car. He apparently refused to stop, which set off a chase that ended in his death.

Officials said a flash of light seen in body camera footage appeared to be the muzzle flash of a gun coming from the driver's side of Walker's car.

In a second body camera video, officers are heard radioing that a shot was being fired from Walker's car. The footage shows an officer following Walker's car and continuing the pursuit on side streets.

"Mr. Walker took at least one shot from his vehicle at the police, led them on a chase and exited from his vehicle in a ski mask, ignoring multiple commands by officers to show his hands and to stop," Yost said, adding there is no conclusive evidence as to where he was pointing his gun.

PHOTO: Jayland Walker is pictured in an undated family photo.
Jayland Walker is pictured in an undated family photo.
Walker Family

At one point, Walker slowed down and jumped out of the passenger side door before the vehicle came to a full stop, according to the footage. According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, officers attempted to use stun guns to subdue him.

"Mr. Walker then reached for his waistband in what several officers described as a cross-draw motion, planted his foot and turned toward the officers while raising his hand," Yost said, adding that officers were unaware Walker was unarmed after exiting the car.

"Various officers indicated in their statements that they heard a gunshot and they responded to the gunshot thinking that it was Mr. Walker who was shooting," Senior Assistant Attorney General Anthony Pierson said at the Monday press conference.

As Walker ran away from police, eight officers simultaneously fired at him, fatally shooting him. Walker had 46 gunshot wounds to his body. According to officials, the officers fired 94 shots at Walker.

A gun was recovered inside his car.

His death prompted protests across the city and calls from civil rights leaders for accountability and justice.

"I want to say again, my deepest condolences to the loved ones of Jayland Walker, his friends, his family remain in my prayers and my thoughts," said Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan following the grand jury announcement, acknowledging that it took roughly nine months for the grand jury to be seated and come to a decision.

Walker is remembered by his family as a funny, quiet and generous man.

"Jayland was the best," his mother, Pamela Walker, said in an interview with ABC News last year. "He was the most lovable guy. ... And he was quiet and reserved, but he was a lot of fun. He liked to joke around. He would joke and make you laugh and loved to listen to music. And he was really helpful to people."

PHOTO: Justice for Jayland Walker protesters march along East Exchange Street on April 14, 2023 in Akron, Ohio.
Justice for Jayland Walker protesters march along East Exchange Street on April 14, 2023 in Akron, Ohio.
Phil Masturzo/USA Today Network

Officials said they could not determine Walker's motivation for his actions that night. Walker had no criminal history, according to officials.

"I don't want to speculate as to what Mr. Walker was thinking at the time," said Pierson. "But I can say this, that it has been made public that Mr. Walker was going through a very tough time in his life. I think it's been documented that Mr. Walker's fianceè had died a short time before this incident happened. And he was going through a very tough time and he was hurting."

None of the officers involved in the Walker shooting or their attorneys have previously spoken publicly about the case.

The officers were on paid leave following the fatal shooting, before being brought back for administrative duty at the department amid a staffing "crisis," Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett had previously announced. In a Monday press conference, Mylett said officers will remain on administrative duties for the "foreseeable future."

Officers names will not be released due to "threats made against them" that "are still believed to be active, viable and credible," Mylett said.

Mylett told reporters that Akron Police Department will begin an internal investigation review into the shooting, with an examination of the officer's training and instruction, policies and procedures, supervisory decisions and technical judgment.

"Once the internal review is complete, we'll use the findings to determine if any policies or procedures were violated by any officer or if any policy procedure or tactic should be modified," said Mylett. He said the internal investigation results will be made public when it's completed. The report will also be provided to a police auditor for review, according to Mylett.

Rep. Emilia Sykes, who represents Akron, said in a Monday press conference that her office will be asking the Department of Justice to open a patterns and practices investigation into the Akron Police Department.