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Akron calls for peace after reported threats in wake of Jayland Walker's death

07-08-22 AKRON OIS PROTESTERS ARRESTED.jpg
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 19:05:57-04

AKRON, Ohio — Akron city leaders are calling for peace ahead of the second weekend of expected protests over the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker by Akron police officers.

Mayor Daniel Horrigan issued a video statement Friday, reiterating his message to demonstrators.

“I’m continuing to call for peace right here in our city,” he said. “I know we’ve had many, many peaceful protests over the last week. And I fully support, and it’s my duty to support, our citizens’ right to let their voices be heard.”

The pre-recorded speech was posted to YouTube without opportunity for questions from the press.

“What I cannot allow, however, is the type of violence and lawlessness that we’ve seen at some of these late-night protests,” the mayor said. “I can’t allow violent protests to come to my house and threaten me and my family.”

Akron City Council said threats have also been directed at government facilities in recent days. Friday morning, it announced a City Council meeting planned for Monday would be moved from in-person to online.

After questions about the reason for the move, the City Council Chief of Staff confirmed there had been bomb threats against the municipal building.

“As such, measures have been taken to protect Council members, staff, and the community,” she said in an emailed response. “It is incumbent upon Council to ensure it can continue conducting the legislative business of the City of Akron safely and peacefully.

Jayland Walker’s death has sparked daily protests. The 25-year-old was shot and killed by Akron police on June 27. 8 officers are on paid administrative leave while the Ohio BCI investigates the case.

This week, several protesters, including Jacob Blake’s father and Breona Taylor’s aunt were arrested and arraigned on misdemeanor charges. Police said the arrests happened after officers "provided information and direction to demonstrators on where they could safely and legally protest," but protesters continued to block the street.

Activists have called the arrests wrongful and, in some cases, violent.

RELATED: Everything we know about about the protests in Akron Wednesday night

City leaders have acknowledged almost all of the protests so far have been peaceful, but they’re warning about potential bad actors.

In an exclusive interview with News 5, Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett read from an FBI bulletin. He explained it was partly why he reinstated a curfew in parts of the city.

"One group of potential violent extremists was encouraged to operate covertly in the crowd during protests,” Mylett said.

RELATED: In exclusive interview, Akron police chief says BCI has started formal interviews with officers

The City of Akron announced they will begin holding daily press briefings starting on Monday and an incident website will be launched in the coming days.

The Akron City Council meeting will be livestreamed through the city’s YouTube page here. Anyone who wishes to participate in the July 11 public hearings via video conference should contact the Clerk’s Office by calling 330-375-2256 or emailing sbiviano@akronohio.gov.

If you wish to participate in the Public Comment Period, fill out a form by clicking on this link and submitting it to publiccomment@akronohio.gov by 4 p.m. on Monday, July 11.

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