AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — The eight Akron officers involved in the June 27 fatal shooting of Jayland Walker have all given statements to investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, according to the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Akron Lodge 7.
Clay Cozart, the union president, tells the I-Team the officers each gave individual statements. Some spoke to investigators last week and others this week.
“All of the officers are cooperating with the investigation fully,” Cozart said. “They will continue to cooperate through the entire process.”
BCI agents are investigating the shooting. The investigation could last several more weeks.
Cozart said the officers, who remain off work on paid leave, have received death threats.
“The entire department has received death threats,” Cozart said.
He added that while he cannot talk about the specifics of the shooting, he did want to clear up information as to why Walker was pulled over.
“Some are saying he was pulled over and chased because of a minor traffic infraction and I want to clarify what happened,” Cozart said.
He said officers first came across Walker’s vehicle in the Howard Street area near Tallmadge Avenue.
“The officers noticed he did have that equipment violation,” Cozart said. “Mr. Walker did not stop. He got to that entrance area of Route 8, and Mr. Walker turned on to that ramp, and the officers let him go because they did not want to pull him over for an equipment violation.”
Cozart said the officers then returned to the area on Howard Street, and a few minutes later they spotted Walker’s car again.
“This is a high crime area, “ Cozart said. “It is near an area where a homicide occurred outside of a bar. So that rose their suspicion, why the car would return to the area. So they got behind it again and tried to stop him.”
The officers stated Walker refused to stop. They added that during the pursuit, Walker fired a shot at them.
City officials have said Walker eventually fled from his vehicle wearing a mask. Officials also stated the officers reported Walker made a threatening move before they discharged their weapons.
Walker’s family and friends say he was not violent and had no prior issues with police.
Cozart says he is aware that others have asked for additional investigation, but he thinks they should at least wait until the BCI investigation is completed.
“I really think they should let the process play out,” Cozart said.