AKRON, Ohio — City of Akron Chief of Police Steve Mylett explained to News 5 on Sunday that misinformation is being spread on social media about officers within the department in relation to the recent events that occurred.
Two officers, who News 5 is choosing not to name at this time, are being falsely accused of involvement with the shooting of Jayland Walker and the protester who was punched by an officer, said Mylett during the interview.
“They are encouraging people to go to these officers' homes and hurt the officers and their families,” he said. “Both are accused of doing things they didn't do. This has caused a reaction in their personal lives. And it's impacting everybody in this police department.”
The first officer, who has been falsely associated with taking part in the shooting of Walker, was only on scene to write the report, according to Mylett.
“That was his role, was to write a report,” he said.
The second officer is being falsely associated as the officer who punched a protester following a press conference, Mylett added.
“After our press conference where an individual was punched in the face,” he said. “He's accused of being the one who punched the person in the face. He didn't, that's not him.”
With false accusations and personal information being posted online, Mylett is afraid of a mass resignation of officers from the police department.
“If the goal is to have police officers start resigning en masse to where we don't have a police department anymore” he said. “Where if somebody dials 9-1-1 because somebody's breaking into their home at two o'clock in the morning, and they need somebody to come protect them or there's a missing six-year-old and they're looking for a system to find that child and everything else that we get called to do. The consequence of the mass resignations, which I'm concerned about, is that nobody's going to be there to respond to 911 calls.”
Mylett also added the false claims circulating have increased tensions within the community.
“But to start spreading misinformation to increase the tension in this city, when it's already so high: It's got to stop,” he said. “People need to think before they start posting misinformation. The city is working hard to get as much information into the public's hands. But we have been walled off.”
The mayor’s office is currently working on a way to tackle the misinformation being spread, according to Mylett. An announcement will be made in the coming days.
“I'm going to leave this for the mayor's office to launch this as this is his idea,” he said. “I think it's an outstanding idea.”
The Chief of Police also mentioned the ongoing investigation into the death of 4-year-old, Journei Tolbert, on Friday night as a “prime example” of having police involved in the community.
“Again, it’s a prime example,” he said. “If we didn’t have officers, we wouldn’t have detectives. That investigation is ongoing.”
Akron police ask that anyone with information relating to the death of the 4-year-old contact the department at 330-375-2490 or CrimeStoppers at 330-434-COPS.
“What I'm asking for in terms of this investigation, somebody knows something,” Mylett said. “Somebody saw the shooters. Somebody knows who the shooters are, please call us, please call us. Bring justice for Journei.”
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