Hundreds gather to mourn Akron motorist killed by police.
Hundreds of people filled a theater and passersby honked their horns in sympathy as family and friends shared their memories of Jayland Walker, the 25-year-old Black man killed in a hail of police gunfire in Akron, at his funeral Wednesday.
Mourners passed his open casket during the viewing at the Akron Civic Theatre, some attendees wearing T-shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” or “Zero Threat, Zero Violence, Justice for Jayland.”
“When I think about Jayland, I think about someone who had the biggest heart,” said Robin Elerick, Walker’s cousin, one of the speakers. “He was so sweet and so authentically genuine and that’s what I’ll always remember about him.”
Bishop Timothy Clarke, of the First Church of God in Columbus, preached about how Walker’s death, and the deaths of other men and women, cannot be normalized.
“We must not try to act as if this is all right,” Clarke said. “This is not all right. There’s nothing right about this. We should not be here, and Jayland should not be in that box.”
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan declared Wednesday a day of mourning in the city.
Walker was killed June 27 at the end of a vehicle and foot chase that followed an attempted traffic stop. He wasn’t armed when he was shot, but authorities said Walker had fired a shot from his car 40 seconds into the chase. Police body camera footage released by the city on July 3 shows Walker wearing a ski mask, jumping out the front passenger door of his still-moving car and then running into a parking lot.
That blurry footage does not clearly show what authorities say was a threatening gesture before he was shot by eight officers, seven who are white and one who is Black.
Investigators haven’t confirmed how many rounds were fired or how many times he was shot. The Summit County medical examiner’s office said it found more than 60 wounds on Walker’s body but hasn’t said how many were entrance and exit wounds.