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Personnel records reveal backgrounds of 8 Akron officers in Jayland Walker case

Records show college, military and previous police experience
Akron Police Logo 2.jpg
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 19:28:29-04

AKRON, Ohio — A deep dive into the backgrounds of the eight Akron police officers who shot and killed Jayland Walker show various college, military and police experience.

News 5 Investigators obtained the officers' personnel records through a public records request.

The records were heavily redacted and did not disclose the officer’s names.

Seven men and one woman make up the eight officers on paid administrative leave. The racial make-up is seven white officers and one Black officer.

Their names have been redacted throughout each personnel file. Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett remains steadfast in not naming the officers.

“I'm not [naming the officers], and the reason is there's been death threats made against them,” Mylett said back on July 7.

But the dozens of pages of police records obtained by News 5 give some sense of who they are. All have some college, four have military experience and two carried a badge and gun when they applied. 

A review of the record labeled "Officer #2," shows he joined Akron’s force in 2016. He spent more than eight years with the U.S. Coast Guard. Performance evaluations noted the officer as highly motivated and self-driven with hundreds of traffic, suspicious person or car stops, including 624 in 2020. 

We don’t know which of the eight officers first spotted Walker’s car twice on June 27 and then tried to pull him over, according to the FOP President.

"Officer #5" was hired in 2019. He was a former K9 officer in Georgia and recognized as a top marksman in the police academy. He was in the U.S. Air Force and received the Purple Heart after being injured by an IED during a deployment in Afghanistan.

More than 90 shots were fired June 27, records show.

Walker had 46 entrance or graze wounds from being shot while running from officers after a vehicle chase, according to his autopsy. 

Mylett said the officers thought Walker was motioning and moving into a firing position, but maintains he hasn’t spoken with them about the case, saying he’s walled off due to the Ohio BCI investigation.

The most recent hire in the group is "Officer #8" in 2021, and the only woman in the group. She’s a former police officer in suburban Youngstown. Before that, she was a part-time police dispatcher at the same department.

Police expert and former police officer Dr. Kalfani Ture raised concerns about the officers' training after he says there could have been friendly fire.

"I want to see all those officers' training jackets. I want to see what training they have gone through and I want to determine what is the best practice going forward,” said Ture.

News 5 does have a request out for each of the officers' training records.

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