AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Among the demands made by activists since the fatal police-involved shooting of Jayland Walker last June has been for the Akron Police Department to install dash cameras in its cruisers.
Walker was shot numerous times while running from Akron police officers following a brief car chase in which officers say he shot at them.
The officers body worn cameras were recording during the chase, but they cannot show what the officers saw through the windshield of their cruisers.
“One of the most important changes that can be implemented now that we are calling on the city to take care of immediately is the implementation of dash cams. A very simple and very important change that would have lead clarity to this situation and the countless situations where Black Americans have been arrested and stopped at traffic stops,” said Walker family attorney Bobby Dicello in a news conference following Jayland’s funeral in July.
On Monday, city council approved an expense of more than $300,000 from a federal grant to install Axon cameras in 24 of its cruisers.
The cameras will be able to interact with the existing body worn cameras that were being used during the Walker chase and his shooting.
The legislation was proposed by Council Woman Tara Mosley, whose nephew died in a crash near the intersection of River and Case Avenue on Easter last year following a traffic stop.
“Because there were no dash cameras, we will never know what really happened and why they felt the need to take off from the traffic stop, so for us, we continue to talk about the need for having dash cams,” said Mosley.
The use of cameras has been endorsed by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett.
“”And “I think it will only enhance our ability to tell the public what we are doing, how we are doing it, why we are doing it and under what circumstances are we doing it,” said Mylett on July 18.
The department previously had dash cameras, but Mosley says the technology ultimately became obsolete. They were discontinued in 2018.
Mosley says the use of dash cameras are not an indictment of the officers and their conduct, but a means to have additional information to help explain difficult scenarios like her nephew’s death and the events leading up to the chase of Walker.
“It allows the residents to know what lead up to the stop and what transpired during that stop and I think it would have given a lot more clarity to what transpired and what happened instead of the end result,” said Mosley.