AKRON, Ohio — City of Akron officials have released bodycam footage showing the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker by eight police officers. Even with the information now public, countless questions remain.
Many of those questions and concerns were raised by the legal team representing Walker's family. In a separate press conference held Sunday afternoon at Firestone Park Community Center, lead attorney Bobby DiCello did commend Police Chief Steve Mylett for his "transparency," but also expressed his deep frustration at some aspects of the presentation.
"They want to turn [Walker] into a masked monster with a gun," DiCello said, "and we knew that."
WARNING: Images and video below will contain disturbing and graphic content.
Authorities have claimed Walker fired a gun out of his car during the chase that eventually ended with Walker's death, and a firearm and loaded magazine were indeed found inside the vehicle. However, Walker did not have the weapon on him when he was shot, something Mylett himself admitted in his remarks.
"A couple days ago, a guy with my skin color held off police, killed a couple, and is in jail today," DiCello, who is white, noted. 3News has confirmed seven of the eight officers who shot Walker were white, while Walker was Black.
Police showed video of Walker's death, but blurred out Walker's body at the request of his family. Mylett also claimed some still images from the footage could potentially show what officers claimed to have seen: A motion of Walker reaching for his waste as if he was going to point a gun at them.
DiCello counters today's presentation "was different from the presentation we received" last week, when lawyers and family were shown the uncensored footage. DiCello also asserts Mylett told him at the time he "did not see the movement that would've put these officers in fear."
"You're not allowed to look back on the shooting from the end of the story and give snapshots in time," DiCello said, adding the raw footage showed Walker "twitching and moving with every shot that landed." "I'm not allowed to do that in court. I'm disappointed I saw that today."
Along with the gun, a wedding ring was also found in the front seat of Walker's car, and he was wearing a ski mask when he fled from the vehicle. While some reporters mentioned how Walker's girlfriend had recently passed away, DiCello says Walker was "exhibiting no behavior" to indicate he "capable" of a situation like this. The attorney also said he had no explanation for the ring or the mask.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has taken over the inquiry, with Attorney General Dave Yost pledging his office would "talk to anyone who knows anything." City leaders and the Walker family have both called for any protests to remain peaceful.
"We are done dying like this, in this manner, in this fate," attorney Paige White said. "We will get justice for Jayland Walker."
**UPDATE: During the Sunday press conference, DiCello implied that the aforementioned gun may have been found in the back seat of Walker's car instead of the front, citing "BCI's point of view." On Wednesday, the DiCello Levitt Gutzler law firm issued a statement appearing to at least partly retract those remarks:
"As a result of a discussion today between members of Jayland Walker's legal team and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Walker legal team has confirmed that the Examiner's Preliminary report identified a gun found in Jayland Walker’s car as follows:
'Gun recovered in vehicle – BCI [Bureau of Criminal Investigation].'
"Currently, the Walker family and its legal team have no reason to believe that the Medical Examiner's report is inaccurate with respect to that statement. Effective immediately, no prior statements to the media made by the Walker legal team with respect to the location of the gun should be used to infer or suggest that the initial report of the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office conflicts with the ongoing BCI investigation, or prior statements of the Chief of Police or the City of Akron. The final report of the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office will speak for itself.
"The family of Jayland Walker, through its legal team, would like to extend its appreciation to the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, Department of the Executive, for its willingness to communicate with the Walker legal team today to jointly address the precise language of its report and any related previous statements."