AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Members of the Freedom BLOC, a community activist organization in
Akron, reacted to the news that all eight police officers who fired dozens of rounds at 25-year-old Jayland Walker returned to work Monday.
“This sends a message loud and clear to the community that this administration does not care what the community feels or thinks,” said Ray Greene, with The Freedom BLOC.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett defended the decision to bring the officers back, saying the department is now down 50 officers with more expected to leave by the end of the year.
“I consider it a crisis staffing levels in our police department. To the point where I’m being put in the position where I may end up having to decide to cut some services,” said Mylett.
The eight officers will be on desk duty amid the ongoing investigation. They’ve been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
Meanwhile, attorneys for the Walker Family say the planning behind the decision is callous and ignores the Walker family’s needs for a fair process.
They issued a statement, saying, “The decision to reinstate these officers – even to desk duty – fails to take into account a pending investigation into their actions that culminated in Jayland’s brutal shooting and unjustifiable death resulting from a barrage of more than 90 bullets. This decision undermines the legitimacy of the investigative process the Walker family has been asked to follow and which BCI has led to this point. On behalf of the Walker family, we
call on the City of Akron to do the right thing and place the officers back on leave until the investigation has been completed.”