AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — On the same morning that Akron police attempted to pull over a car driven by 25-year-old Jayland Walker, the same two officers who initiated the stop had earlier spotted his car and noticed a broken tail light and no license plate light.
WJW was told the officers ran a check on the plate, but at that time, elected not to stop Jayland Walker. However, minutes later they were alerted that the same car had been involved in a police pursuit that was terminated less than 24 hours earlier in nearby New Franklin.
According to police reports obtained by FOX 8 News, a New Franklin police officer spotted the car with the same equipment violations, but when he activated his lights and siren and attempted to pull the car over, the driver sped away.
A police supervisor in New Franklin told the officer to terminate the chase that morning once it reached the city limits, but the information about the car and the pursuit were loaded into the police database.
WJW was told that when the two Akron officers eventually received the alert about the aborted chase in New Franklin, they once again spotted the car while on patrol, and tried to pull over Jayland Walker. It was just 40 seconds later that officers reported that the 25-year-old fired a shot from the car, setting into the motion the pursuit that ended when he bailed out of the car and ran.
It was then that eight officers opened fire with more than 90 rounds, striking Jayland Walker at least 60 times.
The attorney representing the Walker family says he is aware of the earlier pursuit in New Franklin.
“We are embracing that fact because he went home to bed that night. On this night, he went to the morgue, so one department got it right, another department got it wrong,” said civil attorney Bobby DiCello.
As agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation continue their probe of the deadly force used by the eight officers, other issues in the investigation include questions about why Jalen Walker left a gun loaded magazine and a wedding ring in his car, and why the 25-year-old was wearing a ski mask at the time of the June 27 pursuit and shooting.
“The behavior is strange, there is no doubt, I want to add though, that behavior is not lethal behavior, it’s bizarre, sure, and the officers find bizarre occasions all the time,” said DiCello.
Meanwhile, the eight police officers have agreed to speak with BCI agents, and each of them will be represented by their own attorney and a representative of the Fraternal Order of Police.