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Attorney for family of Jayland Walker calls for prosecution of officers involved during symposium in Akron

Jayland Walker symposium
Posted at 10:30 PM, Jan 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-14 23:19:02-05

AKRON, Ohio — Community members in Akron came together Saturday to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. while addressing ongoing injustices facing Black Americans face to this day—centralized around the death of Jayland Walker, who was shot and killed by Akron police during a pursuit last June.

A symposium was held on Saturday afternoon at Goodyear Theater where the Walker family's attorney Bobby DiCello spoke about the current state of the investigation into the officers involved in the shooting.

Walker was shot multiple times by Akron police after a traffic stop turned into a pursuit and a foot chase that ended in a parking lot near Firestone Park. Walker's body had 46 bullet entrance and graze wounds, according to an autopsy by Summit County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler.

In October, the eight Akron police officers who are under investigation for their involvement returned to work.

DiCello said during the event that he was unable to share details but said that he and his team are continuing to work to bring justice to Walker and his family.

"We don't have an investigator, we have teams of investigators. We don't have an idea, we have multiple ideas about what happened on that day. And we are aware of things that I wish I could share with you right now, but I can't. Someday you'll hear about it," DiCello said. "We don't have any timetable right now as to when that report's going to be issued and if BCI continues to keep its word, it will not share any information with any outside agencies. And we're working very hard to make sure that that's happening."

DiCello then outlined some of the points that the Justice for Jayland petition is pushing for, including the prosecution of the officers involved in the shooting.

"The family is also going to be calling for the prosecution of every single one of the officers who shot that night. We expect, we hope that BCI supports that conclusion as well," DiCello said. "And we hope that a special prosecutor comes to the conclusion that a submission to the grand jury is what comes next. That would be ideal, but I'm not naive, and I know you're not either."

While perhaps skeptical, DiCello echoed the demands of the Justice for Jayland petition, which are as follows:

1. A public apology to the Walker family, acknowledging that the officers who shot Jayland used excessive and illegal force.
2. Installation of dash cameras in all police vehicles.
3. A requirement that all Akron police officers wear body cameras (BWCs) that run continuously from the beginning to the end of their shifts.
4. A requirement that all Akron police officers be prohibited from silencing the audio recording capability of their BWCs.
5. Requiring the Mayor and City Council to update the Akron Police Department’s policies to better protect civilians with a focus on less-than-lethal technology and training.
6. Firing and revoking the pensions of the officers who murdered Jayland.
7. Arresting, charging, and convicting the officers who murdered Jayland.
8. Authorizing the civilian review board to have independent investigative power, subpoena power, and disciplinary power, and requiring all Akron police officers to provide all requested information to the civilian review board pursuant to its investigations into police misconduct.
9. Naming the portion of North Main Street in front of the Federal Court house in Akron, “Jayland Walker Way.”
10. Issuing a public statement that the City of Akron stands with the Black community, supports all efforts to increase the fairness and transparency of investigations into law enforcement misconduct, and will not tolerate excessive force by its officers.

"We're also bracing for the possibility that there will not be prosecution, that there could not be an indictment. And when that day or if that day comes, we are going to ask every one of you. To act," DiCello said.

Walker was the central focus, but the four days of events aim to support social justice as a whole, embodying MLK Day with King's mission and spirit.

"In Akron, we really wanted to have the conversations that would, you know, address our current state and where we are," said Robert DeJournett, pastor at St. Ashworth Temple Church of God in Christ. “We thought MLK weekend would be a great weekend to continue these conversations and kick off even more conversations because of what Martin Luther King just did for social justice."

The weekend-long rally began Friday with a gospel concert and community forum on social justice with organizations like Summa Health.

The events continue Sunday and Monday, with things wrapping up with a Youth Day of Doing at locations including Joy Park and Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Those involved in planning the events hope the entire weekend, including Saturday's symposium, helps spark difficult conversations about social justice and in turn, create meaningful change across Akron.

"This year we wanted to connect everything together in the spirit of Martin Luther King. But also that spirit means that we have to have uncomfortable conversation and we have to move to action. And we're hoping that this weekend will start something, that we will start moving to action and have more conversation," DeJournett said.

For more information and details on the weekend events, click here.

RELATED: Rally scheduled to honor MLK Jr. Day and Jayland Walker

For all of our coverage on Jayland Walker, click here.

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