Community protests return of Akron officers after Jayland Walker’s shooting death

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Pictured is Jayland Walker, who was killed by police in Akron, Ohio, after a chase, officials...
Pictured is Jayland Walker, who was killed by police in Akron, Ohio, after a chase, officials said.(WOIO)
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 10:20 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The eight Akron police officers who were involved in the shooting death of 27-year-old Jayland Walker have been brought back to work on Tuesday.

Community members have been marching in protest over the return of the officers, who were placed back on active duty in non-uniformed, non-civilian contact roles.

“Wasn’t a rash decision, but one that was painstaking in fact. When we looked at the staffing shortages that we have, nearly 50. If you add the officers that are out on injuries to that number, that number grows. It was a difficult decision,” Akron Police Lt. Michael Miller stated. “We just want folks to understand that we understand, we get it, but we had to also be responsive and responsible to growing, daily public safety needs of this community, including some of the violence that young people are being impacted by.”

Walker was shot and killed by police on June 27 after an attempted traffic stop. Previously-released bodycam video revealed he was unarmed at the time of the shooting; however, police found a gun in the car upon initial investigations.

Police Chief Steve Mylett said the officers have been reassigned to administrative duties. They will ‘provide internal support in non-uniform roles’ until the investigation into the shooting is complete, according to a department press release.

The officers were brought back due to staffing concerns, the release said.

Lt. Michael Miller with the Akron Police Department told 19 News the station is ‘down approximately 50 officers,’ noting the station-wide shortages have resulted in fewer officers responding to calls for service and causing a strain in patrol shifts.

The decision to reassign the officers, who have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, was ‘not made in haste,’ the release said.

Weeks ago, various community leaders and other stakeholders were consulted by Chief Mylett and APD leadership. We thank these community members for engaging in honest, difficult conversations. The consensus of these conversations was an agreement that this step would provide needed relief and support to ensure there are no interruptions in the services we provide to the community.

Akron Police Department

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation are still investigating the shooting, the release said. The results of the investigation will be submitted to the Summit County Grand Jury for review.

Officials also confirmed the department’s Office of Professional Standards and Accountability will be conducting a separate investigation, with their results being provided to Chief Mylett and the City of Akron’s police auditor for their review.

The entire press release from the Akron Police Department can be read below:

The attorneys representing the Walker family, Ken Abbarno and Bobby DiCello, said the decision to reinstate the officers is ‘callous and ignores the Walker family’s needs for a fair process’ in a statement to 19 News.

The Freedom BLOC, who held a press conference with Walker’s family on Oct. 10, also issued a statement on the officers’ return to work.

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.