AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – In a crowded Democratic Primary race to become the next mayor of Akron, Shammas Malik won a commanding victory.
He’s not facing any Republican opponents in the General Election, so it’s likely he will become the city’s newest leader in January.
If officially elected, Malik would become the city’s youngest mayor ever, as well as the city’s first mayor of color.
Malik joined FOX 8 in the morning to discuss what’s next:
“I think the city needs a positive vision for where it’s going. I think that’s something we’ve been lacking for a long time,” said Malik.
The presumptive mayor points to violence and education as two top priorities needing improvement.
“We’ve lost over 100,00 people in the last 50 years and it’s not that complicated. Folks have moved to the suburbs for the safety and better schools. The population of Summit County has barely changed.”
The city has been propelled into the national spotlight since the police shooting death of Jayland Walker. A grand jury cleared eight officers of criminal charges in the case, but the city has faced protests and divide.
“I think when you cut away the slogans, cut away the rhetoric people want to see the same thing,” said Malik. “Most people want to see police in their community, but they want to see police engaging in a way that’s respectful, that builds trust. And so, if we say foot patrols are a priority – let’s make them a priority.”
Malik, who has served on the Akron city council, has had a role in the creation of a police oversight board.
He said while he respects the legal process and the grand jury’s decision to clear officers in the case there is still work to be done.
“What I’ve said from the very beginning, is that regardless of whether there is a criminal charge, what we saw in the video can not be right. Particularly the number of shots that were fired, the level of brutality there,” said Malik. “That tells us we need policy change and culture change.”
At this time, Malik is not facing any challengers in the race for mayor.