AKRON, Ohio (AP) — The eight Ohio police officers who fired scores of shots that killed Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, after a car and foot chase last year are back on active duty, officials said.
Akron Capt. Michael Miller, in a statement, cited a state investigation and an Ohio grand jury's decision against indicting any officers in the June 2022 shooting death of Walker. As a result, he said, "all eight officers are back on full-time, active duty.”
Miller also said the department’s internal probe of the shooting is going through a final legal review and is expected to be released at the end of November.
Walker family attorney Bobby DiCello told WKYC-TV that the family is “saddened by the way in which they continue to be ignored” by the city of Akron, whose leaders, he said, have “never once reached out to discuss the employment of the eight officers or explain why the officers are being reinstated.”
Police said officers tried to pull over Walker's car for minor equipment violations and that he failed to stop and then fired a shot from the vehicle 40 seconds into the pursuit.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the state’s investigation found that Walker then jumped out of his still-moving car, ran from police and ignored commands to stop and show his hands. Some of the officers first used Tasers to try and stop Walker, but he reached toward his waistband and raised a hand as officers were chasing, Yost said.
The officers, not knowing that Walker had left his gun in the car, believed he was going to fire again, Yost said.
In April, a Summit County grand jury declined to indict the eight officers, who fired a total of 94 shots in just under seven seconds, hitting Walker 46 times. The officers, whose identities haven’t been released, were put on leave following the shooting and then reinstated to desk duty in October 2022.
Months of protests followed the shooting, and the family has filed a $45 million lawsuit against the city and the department. Akron's police chief, Steve Mylett, announced last month that he will retire at the end of the year.
At the time of the shooting, Walker was grieving his fiancee’s recent death, and his family and Anthony Pierson, an assistant state attorney general, said his actions that night were out of character.
“By all accounts he was a good person, a good man,” Pierson said.
Attorneys for the eight officers released a statement earlier calling the shooting a tragedy for the entire community, including Walker’s family and all of the officers who were involved.
“A split-second decision to use lethal force is one that every police officer hopes he or she will never be forced to make,” the statement said.