AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Three businesses in Highland Square along West Market Street had windows broken out with rocks by apparent protestors in Akron.
The incident on Wednesday happened shortly after Akron police used chemical agents on a group of about 100 protestors while they were assembled in the street, marching down Copley Road. Police used smoke canisters, pepper spray and tear gas to break up the large crowds.
Akron Ward 5 City Councilwoman Tara Mosley said the police took it too far.
“This assembly was not unlawful; it was demanding to be heard. The officers responded by not listening. Not by de-escalating the situation. They responded by releasing a thick cloud of chemical smoke on the entire assembly, including children.”
Of the three businesses vandalized, Wally Waffle received the most damage, three windows were damaged as well as their storefront sign. All three restaurants declined interviews because of the heightened political climate. A Wally Waffle manager said they had to send half its staff home for the day due to fewer customers visiting.
Irie Jamaican Kitchen is also closing an hour earlier than normal in response to the vandalism.
Akron police are still gathering information from the events that took place on Wednesday, from the protest to the acts of vandalism.
Fox 8’s request for an interview with Akron police was not met.
Hannibal Nance lives in the Highland Square neighborhood and visits Wally Waffle almost every day. He’s not happy that local businesses are feeling the impact of violent protests but understands that the community is still processing and hurting from what he believes was an unjust killing.
“Honestly speaking, we need justice is what everybody feels,” Nance said.
Although there are multiple videos posted on social media of the events on Wednesday night, Nance believes the damage caused was by outside agents rather than people actually protesting for Jayland Walker.
“I honestly feel that they need to get to the bottom line on who’s behind this,” he said. “And the group of complexioned people that they assume that does this is not the ones that did this. The investigation needs to be thorough.”
Police reports are being filed by businesses.