AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – The City of Akron is restricting public access to the city’s municipal building and the Harold K. Stubbs Building, which houses the police department, in anticipation of the decisions from the grand jury seated in the Jayland Walker case.
Beginning Friday at 5 p.m. those buildings will have restricted access to the public in preparation for potential reaction to the panel’s ultimate decision on whether eight Akron police officers will face criminal charges in connection with the June 2022 death of the 25-year-old, according to a press release from the City of Akron.
Last June, Police were pursuing Walker when they say he fired a round at them.
When he eventually stopped, there was a weapon on the passenger seat, but investigators say he was unarmed when police shot him 46 times.
All eight officers maintain Walker was to blame for why they had to use deadly force.
The decision to limit public access to these buildings was made for the safety of city employees, the public, and the continuity of city operations, the release said.
“As our community prepares for the outcomes of the grand jury decisions, we encourage anyone in need of mental health resources to please click here or call 2-1-1 to get connected to support options,” the release says.
Thursday evening, business owners continued to nail up wooden boards and cover street level windows in downtown Akron.
“I know they’re getting ready for what happened last time. Now I just don’t want Akronites to act like we ain’t got no sense. Whatever comes out for the verdict, just at least be very respectful for everybody that lives in the city. Keep it safe,” said downtown Akron resident Johnnae Wharry.
Wharry says she walks the area every day and has a message for people who might disagree with whatever the grand jury decides.
“Even though it may not be what we want to hear, we still have to keep it safe. We have to use that credit union, we have to use these restaurants, we have to use those apartment buildings,” said Wharry.
The Akron Police Eternal Flame Memorial is covered and giant spot lights are set up, but police will not discuss what other precautionary measures they are taking.
Akron city council meetings, which are usually held on Monday nights, will be held virtually until the building re-opens to the public.
To align with the city’s decision to have employees work from alternate locations, the University of Akron will move all classes in the Polsky Building and the College of Business that begin at noon or later on Friday, April 14, to remote learning. Those buildings will remain remote until further notice.
Classes that begin prior to noon on Friday will be held in person as scheduled.
Both buildings will be closed beginning at noon on Friday and swipe access will be disabled.
According to the release, city services will continue as normal without interruption.
The City of Akron is urging everyone to keep up with the latest information on akronupdates.com.