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Criminologist surprised by number of officers involved with Jayland Walker case

Expects numerous officers to face criminal charges
Jayland Walker
Posted at 10:42 PM, Jul 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-03 23:49:15-04

AKRON, Ohio — A Bowling Green State University criminologist shared his thoughts on the police shooting of Jayland Walker.

Phil Stinson studies police shootings and says he’s never seen one like this before where there are eight officers shooting at a single person.

Stinson watched with the world Sunday afternoon as police for the first time released body camera footage of the shooting last Monday.

“My first impression was I was surprised at how many officers were there,” said Stinson.

You see in the footage, officers with guns drawn running up to Walker’s car as it slows down. Walker jumps out and officers chase him. From the moment the gunfire begins to an officer calling out cease-fire, a mere seven seconds pass.

News 5 isn’t showing the moment Walker’s body falls to the pavement out of respect for his family.

Walker was not armed and in the end had at least 60 gun-related wounds, according to the medical examiner’s preliminary report.

“In terms of whether it’s excessive, it certainly appears to me that it was excessive,” said Stinson.

Stinson also says the chase doesn’t appear to be consistent with Akron’s pursuit policy.

“Here we have a situation where you just have too many people there in a very hectic situation. There's no way that a supervisor had control of the situation in those few seconds that unfolded after the chase ended,” said Stinson. "The pursuit policy, effective January 2020, states unless circumstances dictate otherwise, a pursuit shall consist of no more than two police vehicles, a primary and secondary. The number may be adjusted with supervisory approval and officers should be aware of the danger multiple units responding simultaneously can present.

Akron police say Walker refused to stop for a traffic and equipment violation.

“A half a mile from the location of the traffic stop you hear the gunshot. That changes the whole nature of the traffic stop; it went from being a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue,” said Chief Stephen Mylett.

Chief Mylett says the Ohio Department of Transportation cameras captured a muzzle flash from Walker’s car on Route 8.

“We know the car is intact and has no bullet holes in it and so we’re interested to find out how this gunshot could have been directed at an officer,” said Attorney Bobby DiCello, who represents Walker’s family.

DiCello says the presentation the chief gave to them Thursday night was different from what the media just saw.

“The chief said at that time he did not see the movement that would have put these officers in fear,” said DiCello.

“There’s a picture that appears to all of us that Mr. Walker is going down to his waist area. There is a photograph that appears Mr. Walker was turning toward the officer and there is a picture that captures a forward motion of his arm,” said Chief Mylett.

Attorney Ken Abbarno, who also represents Walker’s family, said it’s troubling the eight officers involved in the shooting have not made formal statements.

“We have had a week go by, the freshest time for people to remember the most critical details about what happened is at the actual time that it happened,” said Abbarno.

Stinson also mentioned it is not unusual for officers to not shed their constitutional rights through the Garrity rule.

“It’s not unusual police officers don't shed their constitutional rights; they have a 5th amendment privilege against self-incrimination there’s also something called the Garrity rule," he said.

Stinson says we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out with BCI heading up the investigation.

“It would not surprise me at all that if numerous officers here were to face criminal charges I think we could see that down the road,” said Stinson.

Chief Mylett says the officers, who are on paid administrative leave, were immediately sequestered and did an individual walk-through of the scene with investigators.

He says the Union president told him the officers are fully cooperating.

Their names have not yet been released to the public.

Walker family attorney, DiCello, addressed the mask Walker was wearing when he jumped from the car.

DiCello says they have no explanation for it, calling it strange behavior, but not lethal behavior.


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