Officers who shot and killed Jayland Walker have bounties on their heads, said Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett.
He was responding to a reporter who on Wednesday asked why the names of the officers have not been made public after their shots resulted in Walker’s death on June 27, after a vehicle and foot chase ensued following a failed traffic stop.
The city has a long history of not providing names of officers involved in shootings and the department has a responsibility to protect the community, including officers and their families, Mylett said.
“Look, the challenge right now is there’s been bounties placed on police officers’ heads,” he said.
Walker was unarmed when shot, but authorities said he fired a shot from his car 40 seconds into the vehicle chase.
Ahead of the Akron pursuit, an officer in nearby New Franklin Township attempted to stop a car believed to be Walker’s for the same equipment violations that led to the Akron chase. A police supervisor called off the pursuit when the driver crossed the township border into Akron, the Daily Mail reported.
Police body camera footage released by the city on July 3 shows Walker wearing a ski mask, jumping out the front passenger door of a moving car, and running into a parking lot.
Akron has been the site of daily anti-police protests since the release of the footage. There’s a curfew between 11 pm to 5 am as officials warn that there is a roving caravan targeting the city.
A public day of mourning was held in the city Wednesday, the day of Walker’s funeral. Academy award winning movie director Spike Lee attended.
Outside the theater, men and women stood armed with assault rifles, handguns and knifes. One man was armed with two assault rifles and had a machete on his back, The Akron Beacon Journal reported.
The group were members of the Fred Hampton Gun Club, a black liberation movement group named for the assassinated Black Panthers leader.
Their mandate is, “To teach Black men and women how to properly protect themselves. We believe in setting up armed patrols and being able to police our own communities if possible.”
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