AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — The seven Democratic candidates seeking to replace outgoing Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan took the debate stage on Wednesday, and the June 2022 deadly police shooting of Jayland Walker was a focal point of the forum.

Akron City Council Representative Tara Mosley told the debate audience at Quaker Station that the eight officers involved in the shooting of Jayland Walker should not have been allowed to return to work.

“I have said from the beginning that I felt that the officers should be fired. If they were found to have done anything wrong, the job of the union is to get their jobs back,” said Mosley.

Current Deputy Mayor Marco Sommerville said the Jayland Walker tragedy shows the need for a transformation of the police department.

“Currently, we have 11% of the force that is African-American. That is way too low, and not representative of the community,” said Sommerville.

Akron City Council Representative Shammas Malik addressed what he believes was a lack of transparency in the days after the shooting.

“Instead of having sort of a closed posture, have a more open posture, acknowledging that this killing represents a systemic failure,” said Malik.

Summit County Council Member Jeff Wilhite told the audience that he believes a new police review board can make a difference.

“I will make sure that that police review committee has all the tools they need, so this doesn’t happen again and we can work every day so that we can prevent this kind of a tragedy,” said Wilhite.

Former Akron city employee Mark Greer says there needs to be a cultural change in the way the city is policed.

“We have to make sure that we are addressing the community that has been disproportionally impacted — and that is our young Black men,” said Greer.

Joshua Schaffer, who is a retail manager, told the audience that he believes the deadly shooting called for immediate action.

“Jayland was murdered, and I would have named the officers. I would have terminated the officers, period,” said Schaffer.

School teacher Keith Mills told the audience that his approach would have been personal.

“I would have profusely apologized to his mother. I would have made sure that they are safe and made sure they had everything they needed,” said Mills.

The Akron mayoral primary election will be held on May 2. No Republican candidates qualified to be on the ballot.

Wednesday’s debate was produced by the Akron Press Club, the Akron Beacon Journal/BeaconJournal.com, Ideastream Public Media and the Ohio Debate Commission. A second Akron mayoral debate will be held on April 12.