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An unspecified number of police officers in Akron, Ohio, were placed on administrative leave after the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old Black man who police said continued to drive after they tried to pull him over for an unspecified traffic violation.

Officials in Akron were bracing for protests that could follow the release on Sunday of footage of the shooting, which took place after the driver, Jayland Walker, exited his vehicle and fled on foot to a parking lot early Monday.

A lawyer for Walker’s family said the footage shows that he was running away, unarmed, when police officers fired at him more than 90 times.

The lawyer, Bobby DiCello, reviewed footage of the shooting Thursday. His legal team also visited the medical examiner’s office Friday and reviewed the autopsy, which has not been finalized. DiCello said it showed that Walker had been struck at least 60 times.

The Summit County medical examiner could not immediately be reached Saturday.

“I’ve been a trial lawyer for 22 years, and I’ve never seen anything remotely close to what that video is going to show,” DiCello said of the footage to be released. He said eight officers were involved in the shooting, although the authorities did not specify a number.

An initial police statement, which was released Tuesday, said officers tried to stop Walker for an unspecified traffic violation while he was driving around 12:30 a.m. After Walker did not stop, officers continued to pursue his vehicle, police said.

Police said Walker discharged a gun while he was driving, but the statement did not specify how they knew that. After a few minutes, Walker slowed his car and exited it while it was still moving; officers then chased him on foot into a parking lot, police said.

The statement said officers opened fire after “actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them.”

DiCello said that he saw no evidence in the video of Walker moving in a way that would “put them in fear” or require them to shoot.

“I’ve met personally with the chief and he has told me that he hasn’t found that evidence,” DiCello said. He said that the police chief told him that moments before the shooting began, two officers tried to use stun guns on Walker and missed.

DiCello said that the parking lot Walker ran into was large, empty and did not have places for him to hide. He said Walker was not gesturing in a threatening way when the shooting began.

“Imagine a person running away and starting to turn to look back behind them as one is running and it’s at that point that the gunshots erupt,” DiCello said.

DiCello also raised questions about the police report’s narrative that Walker had fired a gun while driving away from officers.

“The rear windshield is intact, the front windshield is intact and all side windows are intact,” he said. “There’s no call, there’s no report that we’ve seen and there’s been no mention by the chief in personal discussions with him that a gun was seen outside the car, waving at or being pointed at anyone.”

Walker had an unspecified gun in the car, but he was not carrying that, or anything else, when police chased him on foot, DiCello said.

Walker had one traffic ticket and no criminal record. He graduated from Buchtel High School in Akron, where he was on the wrestling team. He was working as a driver for DoorDash and dreamed of one day opening his own business, DiCello said. About a month ago, his girlfriend died in a car accident.

At a news conference Thursday, Walker’s aunt, Lajuana Walker Dawkins, said “he never caused any trouble.”

“He was my skinny little nephew,” she said. “And we miss him. We just want some answers.”

DiCello said Walker’s sister, Jada Walker, and mother, Pamela Walker, chose not to watch the footage of the shooting. They have asked that it not be described to them and were avoiding news reports about it. They also asked for people to peacefully respond to Walker’s killing.

“The family wants no more violence,” DiCello said. “It’s had enough violence. The family wants peace, dignity and justice for Jayland.”

Before the video’s release, the city braced for protests.

On Saturday afternoon, about 100 people gathered in the parking lot of Second Baptist Church, just outside of downtown Akron. The protesters carried signs, one of which said, “JFJ JustificationForJayland.”

Many of the demonstrators criticized what they said was unequal treatment by police.

“When some people don’t follow directions, they wind up in handcuffs,” said Hamza Khabir, 41, a Cleveland resident who heads the activist group Law Enforcement Equality Reform. “When Black people do so, they wind up being shot and killed.”

David McDay, 78, said he was frustrated by the lack of change over time.

“I have always been amazed that the same problems keep happening over and over again,” said McDay, a retired Goodyear factory worker.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said Thursday that a Fourth of July festival scheduled for the weekend had been canceled.

“Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration.”

Members of the Akron Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation are conducting an initial investigation of the shooting.

After that investigation is complete, the case will be turned over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for review. The Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards and Accountability is conducting a separate internal investigation. In a joint statement Wednesday, Horrigan and Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said it was “a dark day for our city, for the families of those involved, as well as for the officers.”

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“We will cooperate fully with that investigation and have made it a top priority for our staffs,” the statement said. “As a city, we are committed to this process and trust that it will yield a fuller understanding of this incident.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

News Source: mercurynews.com

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Belleville Man Shoots Paterson Resident During Online-Arranged Meeting

A Belleville man was charged with attempted murder in the broad daylight shooting of a Paterson resident during what responders said was a meeting arranged online for a purported transaction.

Daniel Jimenez, 37, was identified as the gunman who shot the unsuspecting 26-year-old victim near the corner of East 28th Street and 7th Avenue in Paterson around 2 p.m July 26 after arranging the online buy, they said.

Police arrived to find that the victim gone – he’d been taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in a private vehicle, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Paterson Police Ibrahim Baycora said in a joint statement.

His assailant had fled in a 2003 Ford Expedition with a registration that came back to a Clifton resident, responders said.

Jiminez was arrested early Tuesday evening near the corner of Washington and Overlook avenues in Belleville, Valdes and Baycora said.

He remained held in the Passaic County Jail, charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, luring and multiple weapons offenses.

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