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Akron councilwoman pushing for dash cameras in police cruisers following Jayland Walker's death

Akron Police Generic
Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 07:31:16-04

AKRON, Ohio — Akron Councilwoman Tara Mosley is pushing for legislation asking for the city to purchase and place dash cameras in patrol cars, van, wagons and detective vehicles following the high-profile police-involved shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker.

In her resolution, expected to be discussed at Monday's city council meeting, Mosley said, "In light of the recent events surrounding the death of Jayland Walker, council believes that the purchase of additional police vehicle dashboard cameras and body-worn cameras for all reserve police officers and detectives is warranted."

Body-worn cameras on multiple Akron police officers shows the shooting of Walker in a parking lot after a chase on June 27.

Before the deadly encounter, an Ohio Department of Transportation camera on Route 8 captured Walker firing a shot from his car, according to police.

However, there is no dash camera video of the chase which leaves Mosley with unanswered questions.

"I think there's a lot missing. There's always going to be what happened prior to him getting out of that car? What happened that was in the context of that parking lot that the body cameras did not show? There's always going to be that," Mosley said.

Investigators said Walker was unarmed as he ran from his vehicle. Eight officers fired their guns hitting Walker dozens of times. The Summit County Medical Examiner is holding a news conference on Friday to release details on the autopsy.

Bobby DiCello, an attorney representing the Walker family, has repeatedly raised concerns about the city not using dash cameras and called on leaders to buy them after Walker's funeral service Wednesday afternoon.

"One of the most important changes that can be implemented now that we're calling upon the city to take care of immediately is the implementation of dash cams," DiCello said.

City leaders said they stopped using dash cams about seven years ago, in part, because technology that was being used became outdated. The department currently has about 80 vehicles, according to Lt. Michael Miller.

At a Thursday morning briefing, both Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett were open to the possibility of getting new dash cams.

"The dash cameras definitely have value, as do body cams, and certainly we will have further discussions here in the coming days and weeks about this topic," Mylett said.

"We're looking at that seriously to be able to reinstitute that and we'll continue to have discussions to be able to do that," Horrigan added.

It's not clear how much it would cost to outfit Akron police vehicles with dash cams, but Mosley estimated the price tag would be between $500,000 and $1,000,000.

Mosley believes money from Issue 4, an income tax increase approved by voters in 2017, could fund the cameras, but she added further discussions are needed with the city's finance director.

Bianca Mayti, an Akron resident who owns a tech start-up, believes the city should be using the dash cam technology.

"I think it's important for transparency and accountability so I think they should bring them back," Mayti said. "If we see what they're doing and we can see from their angle, then maybe we can understand their job better and how to have better productive relationships with police."