AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — On Monday, grand jurors were set to begin hearing evidence in the deadly shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker last summer. The jurors will decide whether the eight officers involved should face charges.
Akron Chief Prosecutor Craig Morgan explained the grand jury process in a livestream on social media last week.
Once jurors are selected and seated, the nine-member panel will be shown police video and audio from the June 2022 shooting and hear testimony, possibly from the eight officers themselves.
“The purpose of the grand jury is to determine if sufficient probable cause exists to charge a person or persons with a particular offense or offenses,” Morgan said.
When will a decision be made?
There’s no timeline for the panel to make a decision. It will take about a week for the panel to hear all the evidence, said Morgan.
Seven of the nine jurors must agree that there is probable cause in order for any of the officers to be charged. Any indicted officer will then proceed to trial.
The grand jury process itself is confidential.
Will there be protests?
City officials have prepared for demonstrations in downtown Akron ahead of the grand jury decision.
A planned demonstration zone is along High Street, from East Bowery Street to University Avenue. The roadway will be blocked with barricades to protect protesters from traffic.
“We understand that folks may want to demonstrate elsewhere. We understand some may want to march. People have a First Amendment right to protest in designated areas and outside of them. As long as that’s done non-violently, in a peaceful way, we will support those rights,” said Akron Chief Communications Officer Stephanie Marsh.
A new city website AkronUpdates.com provides the latest information, including FAQs on the grand jury process, resources for downtown business owners and a map showing road closures and detours.
“Conversations have been continuous with business owners, faith leaders, community and activist groups, and residents from all walks of life,” the site reads. “The City also believes that we have a responsibility to prepare for all possible outcomes and reactions and so safety precautions have taken place in the downtown corridor to best protect our government buildings from any possible damage or destruction.”
In June, officers shot the 25-year-old Walker 46 times following a pursuit during which they claimed Walker fired a gun out of a vehicle. He later got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. Investigators later determined Walker left a gun and a loaded magazine in the vehicle.