Police violence is a ubiquitous issue in the United States. Again and again, black people die in brutal operations. Now a case in Ohio is causing bewilderment – the victim has around 60 gunshot wounds.
Dozens of gunshots and gunshot wounds: The death of a black man in a police operation in the US state of Ohio has sparked new dismay in the United States. Police in Akron, Ohio released several videos of the June 27 operation.
Body camera footage shows 25-year-old Jayland Walker being killed by dozens of gunshots after a police chase. At this point he was not armed. Fatal police operations of a similar nature regularly occur in the United States.
According to the police, the officers wanted to stop the 25-year-old Walker for a traffic offense. But he fled in his car. According to the police, he is said to have fired a shot at the same time. When he finally continued the escape on foot, he was wearing a ski mask, it was said. The police first tried to stop him with Tasers and then shot him. According to police, the body of the 25-year-old has 60 gunshot wounds. It was not clear exactly how many times he was hit, since it could be a question of both entry wounds and bullet exit wounds.
Mother: “Why did this happen?”
Protests broke out in Akron after the incident. Mayor Dan Horrigan called on the people of the city to remain peaceful. He called the police body camera footage “heartbreaking.” “It’s very hard to take,” he said at a press conference. The dead man’s mother, Pamela Walker, also spoke on local television. “All I can say is that I’ve never been so sad in my life,” she said. “Why did this happen – in such a horrible way?”
Police initially said in a press release last week that the suspect’s behavior had led officers to believe he posed a deadly threat to them.
Police Chief Stephen Mylett said he had looked at video footage of the incident a number of times and it was difficult to tell what was happening. “It appears that Mr Walker turned to face the officer and there is a still showing his arm moving forward,” he said. The police then fired. At the time, Walker, 25, was not armed. A gun was later found in his car.
“We don’t know the exact number of shots fired,” Mylett said. The media spoke of around 90 shots. The police chief emphasized that this was quite realistic. Eight police officers were “directly involved”. They have been put on leave while the incident is being investigated. “A routine traffic stop that would likely result in a warning or a ticket turned into a chase,” Mylett said.
Lawyer questions police representation
“His body is riddled with bullets, his face is riddled with bullets (…) it’s an incredible sight,” family attorney Bobby DiCello told the Beacon Journal. In his 22 years as a lawyer, he has never experienced anything like this. He also questioned whether Walker really did shoot from the car during his escape. The police argue that a gunshot was heard and at the same time a “flash of light can be seen on the driver’s side of the suspect vehicle”.
The case of George Floyd is representative of violence against blacks in brutal police operations: In May 2020, the unarmed African American died in a police operation in Minneapolis. Videos of passers-by documented how police officers pushed him to the ground. White officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for a good nine minutes while Floyd pleaded with him to let him breathe. The case led to nationwide protests against police violence and racism. Since then, there has always been dismay at similar cases.