AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — The eight officers involved in the shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker last summer will not face charges, a special grand jury has decided.
Walker was shot 46 times by eight Akron police officers after a chase on June 27, 2022.
The nine-member panel had been reviewing evidence in the case since April 11, including Walker’s autopsy, officer-worn body camera video from the night of the shooting and testimony.
At least seven of the nine jurors needed to agree there was probable cause to bring charges against any of the officers. The grand jury process itself is confidential.
The eight officers were not publicly identified by the department, due to what the police chief said were death threats against Akron officers.
“There have been bounties placed on police officers’ heads,” Police Chief Steve Mylett said in the weeks following Jayland’s death.
The officers were initially placed on routine administrative leave. They returned to work in October of 2022.
The decision means there will be no criminal charges at the state level, but that does not resolve any civil complaints of wrongful death against the officers, said Attorney General Dave Yost.
The case files were published Monday on the attorney general’s website “for everyone to see,” Yost said.
Did Jayland Walker have a gun?
Police tried to stop Walker for a minor traffic violation the night he was killed. Prosecutors said Walker led police on a chase. The first shot came from Walker’s car, prosecutors said, as seen on dashboard camera footage from a Cuyahoga Falls police vehicle.
Eventually, Walker got out of the vehicle and ran on foot. He was unarmed and wearing a ski mask.
Here’s a timeline of the shooting presented by prosecutors:
Eight officers who were on the scene said they perceived a threat and opened fire. But officers first tried to use non-lethal force to subdue Walker, Yost said.
“Mr. Walker then reached for his waistband in what several officers described as a ‘cross-draw’ motion, planted his foot, and turned toward the officers while raising his hand,” Yost said. “Only then did the officers fire believing Mr. Walker was firing again at them. Although the officers did not know it at the time, Mr. Walker had left his recently purchased gun in his car.
“However, there is no doubt that he did, in fact, shoot at the police officers.”
A shell casing found along state Route 8 was traced back to Walker’s gun, Yost said.
Walker was shot in the head, torso, pelvis, legs, arms and knees, the autopsy showed.
The medical examiner said the 25-year-old had more than 60 wounds to his body.
Walker’s toxicology report showed no sign of drugs or alcohol.
Walker’s death sparked weeks of protests in Akron.
Some protesters damaged businesses, while others marched peacefully. At least one use-of-force investigation was opened into the conduct between police officers and protesters.
Dozens of protesters were arrested.
Ahead of the grand jury decision, Akron closed city hall and boarded up windows with plywood. Akron Public Schools prepared a plan to evacuate the schools if necessary. Steel barricades were placed around the courthouse.