AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – The Akron Police Department says its officers arrested 7 people in protests Wednesday evening.
According to police, the protests started around noon and remained peaceful until 8:30 p.m. Police say around 50 protesters were gathered in front of the police station. Some of them began to block and disrupt the flow of traffic on High Street, police say. According to police, officers gave demonstrators information on where they could safely protest. They say some people continued blocking traffic.
Police say they arrested two men at that location. “Force was needed to effect their arrest,” police said in a statement. 55-year-old Jacob Blake Sr and 37-year-old Michael Harris were taken into custody. They’re both charged with rioting, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and resisting arrest. Blake was taken to the hospital. Police say he was taken for a medical evaluation but did not elaborate on injuries. Harris was taken to the Summit County Jail.
Blake is the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot and seriously injured by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August of 2020.
Police say during the gathering, officers deployed chemical irritants, or tear gas, to disperse the crowd. Police say another group of about 100 people gathered at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General Medical Center. Police say some in the crowd blocked Wabash Ave. making access to the emergency room entrance difficult.
That led to a lockdown at the hospital, according to police.
Police say they arrested 7 people in total. Bianca Austin was also arrested.
Austin is an aunt of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March of 2020 during a raid on her home.
None of those arrested is from Ohio. Police say they’re from North Carolina, Wisconsin and Kentucky. “We fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble. Acts of violence and property damage are illegal and will not be permitted,” Akron police said in a statement.
People are protesting the police killing of Jayland Walker.
The 25-year-old was killed by police on Monday, June 27, after a traffic stop led to a pursuit. Officers said Walker fired a shot from his vehicle during the chase. Walker ran from the vehicle unarmed in a ski mask.
Police say Walker made a move that officers perceived as a threat. Eight officers opened fire. Walker had at least 60 wounds to his body according to the medical examiner’s office. The officers are on administrative leave.