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Officer response in Jayland Walker shooting was ‘overkill,’ use-of-force expert says: ‘The police officers involved determined that his life wasn’t worthy to be preserved.’

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Jayland Walker, the 25 year old Black man shot by police in Akron, Ohio, on June 27, was clearly unarmed when fleeing from police and the use of force used was “overkill,” a former police officer and criminal justice expert told Insider.

“The shooting itself was overkill,” Kalfani Turè, an assistant professor at Mount Saint Mary’s University, said. “And I can’t think of, in my career in law enforcement, that that number of police officers would respond.”

Officers attempted to pull Walker over for a traffic violation at 12:30 a.m. on June 27, a police statement said. Police said Walker refused to stop and drove off in his vehicle. A chase ensued and officers reported a gun went off in the vehicle. 

On Sunday, The Akron Police Department released photos and video footage of the June 27 shooting. The final moments of the footage released to the public shows Walker opening his car door while it’s still moving and running away from officers. Police say Walker was wearing a ski mask. Officers shout at Walker and tell him not to move.

Officers then pull out their tasers and attempt to hit Walker, but are unsuccessful, and Walker continues to run. As Walker approaches a parking lot, officers pull out their guns and shoot him. Multiple bullets hit Walker while his body rolls over on the ground.

In the statement, the APD said that officers shot Walker because they perceived him to be a “deadly threat.”

During the Sunday press conference police said they found 60 bullet wounds on Walker’s body but could not determine if they were exit wounds or entry wounds.

“You can see his body being riddled,” Turè said. “You can even see one officer who I think was a Sergeant on scene telling the officers to stop firing and they continue to fire.”

Police said they attempted to save his life by administering aid and called for emergency medical services. However, Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bobby DiCello, an attorney for Walker’s family, said police handcuffed Walker before administering aid.

The eight officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, the APD said.

Turè told Insider that when he watched the video, he thought it was clear that Walker was unarmed, and noted that he did not appear to make any gestures that would seem threatening. He also said that because officers pulled out their tasers before their guns, they did not perceive a threat.

“So when police officers use the term that they perceive a threat — a deadly threat — this is often legalistic and it’s intended to cover the officer for actions that have been committed,”  Turè told Insider.

Turè, who considers himself a police reform advocate, further criticized the officers’ actions by saying they should have been focused on preserving Walker’s life and that officers are trained not to shoot people while they are fleeing.

Although it is unclear if officers will be held criminally liable, the incident will further the rift between Black and brown communities and police officers, Turè said.

Police officers released a photo from a traffic camera of what they claim is Walker’s gun going off in his car, but Turè said that the photos were unclear and “inconclusive.” He also criticized the lack of dash cam videos in the officer’s cars, which may have been able to capture the alleged event. 

The APD also released images of a handgun, a loaded magazine, and a wedding band found on Walker’s car seat. The items may have shown Walker was in distress, Turè said. DiCello previously noted that Walker’s fiancé, Jaymeisha Beasley, died in a car accident in June. 

“Only Mr. Walker knows what his state of mind was and what was going on at that time, but we don’t have him to give testimony today,” Turè told Insider. “We won’t get his side of the story because the police department or the police officers involved, determined, at least in this incident, that his life wasn’t worthy to be preserved. And that’s most unfortunate.”

The Akron Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Courtesy By INSIDER

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