'Overkill.' Ohio's Jayland Walker was shot 60 times. We should be shocked by gruesome death




  • In US
  • 2022-07-06 10:01:35Z
  • By The Columbus Dispatch

Merriam-Webster defines the word overkill this way.

1: a destructive capacity greatly exceeding that required for a given target

2: an excess of something (such as a quantity or an action) beyond what is required or suitable for a particular purpose

3: killing in excess of what is intended or required

If Jayland Walker were still alive, he might have a thing or two to say about overkill.

More: What we know - and still don't know - about the police shooting death of Jayland Walker

Eight Akron police officers shot man who didn't have a gun

But Walker, only 25 years old, died in a hail of bullets in Akron fired from eight police officers, who continued to shoot him as he lay dying on the ground.

Attorney Bobby DiCello holds up a photograph of Jayland Walker, 25, as he speaks on behalf of the Walker family during a news conference on June 30, 2022, in Akron, Ohio.
Attorney Bobby DiCello holds up a photograph of Jayland Walker, 25, as he speaks on behalf of the Walker family during a news conference on June 30, 2022, in Akron, Ohio.  

Walker, according to police, fled from officers in a car chase after a traffic stop. He shot at police during the chase, before he eventually bailed from the car. Officers cornered him after a brief foot pursuit

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They then shot him as many as 60 times. Preliminary information shows the officers fired 90 rounds in all.

"I'm not exactly sure what the equipment violation was, or what the traffic violation was," Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said Sunday.

Walker didn't have a weapon, according to Akron police, when he was shot. The gun, ammunition and a gold ring were left on the front seat of his car. But officers still perceived him as a threat.

Body-cam footage supplied by the Akron Police Department also shows items inside Jayland Walker
Body-cam footage supplied by the Akron Police Department also shows items inside Jayland Walker's car.  

Jayland Walker is another Black, unarmed man who died at the hands of police. The video showing his final moments of life will be analyzed and commented about for months, if not years.

It's another video that will traumatize people of color. We watch. We mourn. We question why it happens again and again.

"The video is heartbreaking; it's hard to take in," Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan said during a Sunday news conference.

Authorities on Sunday released the shocking body camera footage, after days of protests. Despite the disturbing footage, Walker's family continues to implore the community to remain peaceful.

Police officers keep a watchful eye on a group protesting the death of Jayland Walker on July 2, 2022, in Akron, Ohio.
Police officers keep a watchful eye on a group protesting the death of Jayland Walker on July 2, 2022, in Akron, Ohio.  

Peaceful but with purpose. They are entitled to demand answers, to want transparency, to understand why Walker was met with so many bullets.

Mylett said the medical examiner found roughly 60 wounds on Walker's body.

More: Gruesome videos, Jayland Walker's motions intensify debate; attorney disputes city's claims

Mylett, who said he has watched the video about 40 times, said it is difficult to distinguish what Walker is doing when officers encounter him, but it appears he was fumbling around his waist area. He then turned to officers and appears to make a forward firing motion with his arm.

Carli Pierson: Our well-meaning hashtags won't stop racist mass shootings. We need to take action.

Officers have provided statements about shooting

The officers have yet to give statements as to their actions - nearly a week later.

But Mylett said that, according to the union president, the officers are fully cooperative. When officers make the decision to use deadly force, he said, they must explain why they did what they did and the particular threat they were facing - round by round.

Body-cam footage shows the pursuit and shooting of Jayland Walker on the morning of June 27, 2022, during an attempted traffic stop.
Body-cam footage shows the pursuit and shooting of Jayland Walker on the morning of June 27, 2022, during an attempted traffic stop.  

"Every American is entitled to due process," Mylett said, referring to the officers' rights to make statements or decline.

Due process. Jayland Walker - if only he still could - might have had a thing or two to say about that as well.

National columnist/deputy opinion editor Suzette Hackney is a member of USA TODAY'S Editorial Board. Contact her at shackney@usatoday.com or on Twitter: @suzyscribe

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jayland Walker: Akron police shooting renews trauma on people of color

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