Editor’s Note: The video above may be disturbing to some viewers.
AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – FOX 8 has confirmed a use of force investigation will be launched after video surfaced of an Akron police officer punching a protester.
The incident happened Wednesday night. Multiple viewers reached out to FOX 8 with the video. We’ve learned the protester in the video is Michael Harris, of North Carolina. The 37-year-old was one of 7 people arrested in Akron protests Wednesday.
Video shows an officer hitting Harris multiple times with a closed fist, while two other officers have his arms. Eventually, the group falls to the ground. The video does not show what happened in the moments leading up to the incident.
“Force was needed to effect their arrest,” police said in a statement released Thursday morning in reference to Wednesday night’s arrests.
Another person seen in the video is Jacob Blake Sr. He’s the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis., in 2020. Blake survived the shooting but is paralyzed.
Both men face charges of rioting, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and resisting arrest.
Blake Sr. was hospitalized following the incident.
A spokesperson for the Akron Police Department tells FOX 8 the incident will be reviewed internally by the department, which they say is standard for any use of force allegations. The 30-day review will consider the “totality” of the circumstances and whether that amount of force was reasonable.
The men were gathered with other demonstrators protesting the police killing of Jayland Walker. Walker was killed by Akron police on June 27 after they attempted to pull him over because his vehicle’s license plate light was out.
Police say Walker fired a shot while driving. 8 police officers opened fire on Walker when he ran from police unarmed. Police have said he moved in a way that was threatening. Walker had more than 60 injuries to his body. The police department has not said how many rounds were fired.