AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – A family mourns, streets are blocked and a popular holiday festival is canceled in downtown Akron as tensions grow over a deadly police-involved shooting.
FOX 8 also heard from the family of Jayland Walker as they talked about how they want him to be remembered and their calls for peace.
Demonstrations continued into the evening in downtown Akron Thursday as people protest the death of 25-year old Jayland Walker after a police-involved shooting early Monday morning.
Earlier in the day, demonstrators blocked the streets in front of the Akron police department until crews closed off all streets surrounding the building.
“This is not a monster,” said Walker family attorney Bobby DiCello, as he held up a picture of Jayland.
“We loved Jayland. He was my skinny little nephew and we miss him. We just want some answers,” said Jayland’s aunt, Lajuana Walker Dawkins.
Dawkins, who he called Aunt Minnie, spoke to reporters on behalf of the family, including the 25-year old’s mother and sister. According to the family’s attorney, Jayland was a Door Dash employee with no criminal record other than a traffic ticket.
“Jayland was a sweet, young man. He never caused any trouble. We don’t know what happened and we’d like to know,” said Jayland’s aunt.
According to Akron police, officers tried to pull over Jayland around 12:30 a.m. Monday, but he didn’t stop.
The police chief says he led them on a chase, which ended with Jayland jumping out of the car.
Police previously reported that Walker fired a shot from his vehicle during the pursuit.
Now, Chief Steve Mylett says Jayland turned toward the officers in a way they perceived as a threat and officers shot him multiple times, killing him.
“We need to understand why a traffic violation, equipment violation turned into a car chase. Why a traffic equipment violation turned into the loss of a life,” said Judy Hill, president of the Akron chapter of the NAACP.
Thursday, the city of Akron announced that the Rib, White and Blue Festival in downtown is canceled.
Some vendors had already begun setting up, and although they were disappointed to be packing up and going home, they told us off camera they know it is for everyone’s safety.
City officials say although they know many people will be disappointed, Mayor Dan Horrigan feels this is not the time for a city-led celebration.
“There’s nothing wrong with being too cautious,” said Ward 5 Akron councilwoman Tara Mosley.
Mosley believes the mayor made a good call, given the increasing tension over Jayland’s death.
“I think the family, they have extended such grace into the community, about us being calm and waiting for them to find out what’s going on. I think people who live here will listen to that, but it’s that outside noise that we have to be concerned about,” said the councilwoman.
Akron police say the barricades were put up for two reasons. First, to keep demonstrators safe and to make sure that the police department could continue to function effectively.
Due to the limited access, the Akron Municipal Courthouse will be closed for business Friday.
Meanwhile, Walker’s family is expected to view bodycam video of the shooting within the next day or so, if they haven’t already seen it.
Chief Mylett says he will release the video for the public to see what happened for themselves on Sunday.