8 officers who shot at Jayland Walker return to duty

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The eight police officers who fired dozens of rounds at Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, following a car and foot chase have returned to duty.

Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said the officers were back at work Monday to alleviate a staffing shortage he described as a “crisis” to WEWS-TV on Tuesday. The officers had been on paid administrative leave following the June 27 fatal shooting.

The officers will not be in uniform or work patrol duties, Mylett said. They have been reassigned to administrative duties, he said.

“We recognize that this decision will cause concern for the Walker family and the community, and we are sensitive to those concerns,” Mylett said.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Walker’s death.

A preliminary autopsy showed Walker was shot at least 40 times. Two officers initially tried to stop Walker’s car for minor equipment violations. Walker refused to stop and, seconds into the pursuit, a shot was fired from his car, police said. The officers chased the car onto a freeway and back onto city streets.

Walker a short time later stopped and bailed from the car. Ignoring officers’ commands, he ran into an adjacent parking lot where he was killed in a hail of police gunfire, police body cam video shows. Authorities said Walker represented a “deadly threat.” A handgun and a wedding ring were found on the driver’s seat of his car.

Walker’s death has prompted numerous protests in Akron along with calls for police reform.