AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — A group of local pastors gathered on Thursday morning with a plea for peace.

United Pastors Mission has met at Mt. Zion Church in Oakwood Village calling for a full investigation of Police and Policy review regarding the deadly police-involved shooting of Jayland Walker.

“We’re here today because of a mindset,” said pastor of Mt. Sinai Ministries C.J. Matthews. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Akron City Council responds to Jayland Walker’s death

Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville and council members Thursday released a statement on the officer-involved shooting and announced its upcoming meeting and public hearings will be virtual “in deference to the challenges facing our city and residents at this time.”

In the statement, council commended Mayor Horrigan and Police Chief Mylett for “taking the unprecedented response of calling on the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct an independent investigation into the entire incident.”

“Our heartfelt sympathy and sincere condolences are extended to Jayland’s mother, Ms. Pamela Walker, sister Jada, extended family members, and friends. We are so sorry for your loss and the unimaginable pain you are experiencing at this time. Our thoughts are also with the officers involved and their families as they journey through the misfortune of being the focus of the investigation surrounding this devastating incident.”

City council says that since 2014, they enacted legislation designed to provide for increased transparency and accountability in community policing, ensure public safety and help build trust between citizens and the police. That legislation can be reviewed here.

The statement went on to say:

“We recognize that more needs to be done. As the legislative branch of our city’s government, Council will continue to do all that is within its power to engage in the legislative reform necessary so that Akron is a safe place to live for all its citizens. We pledge to work cooperatively with other entities to advocate for changes within their purview.”

An upcoming public hearing in Akron scheduled for July 11 will be virtual, and can be viewed in a livestream found here. Anyone wanting to participate in the public comment of the meeting should fill out a Public Comment Form, and submit it here by 4:00 p.m. on July 11.

High-profile protesters arrested overnight

After the first night with no curfew in Akron, protests resumed overnight leading to the arrests of two high-profile activists on Wednesday.

Court records show Jacob Blake Sr. and Bianca Austin were arrested Wednesday on charges of rioting.

Austin was arraigned in Akron Municipal Court on Thursday morning. She appeared remotely.

Austin pled not guilty. She was given a curfew from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. and her bond was set at $2,500.

Her pre-trial date is set for July 15 at 9:30 a.m.

The courthouse has been closed to the public all week and will remain closed through at least Saturday, July 9.

Reports say Blake Sr. was taken to Akron General Hospital, treated, then released. The hospital was placed on a soft lockdown.

Blake Sr. is the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot and seriously injured by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August of 2020.

Austin is an aunt of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March of 2020 during a raid on her home.

FOX 8 crews were asked to move Wednesday night in Akron so they wouldn’t be hit with tear gas.

Akron police say they arrested 7 protesters. They say all of them are from out of state.

Background

Jayland Walker was killed by police Monday, June 27, after a traffic stop led to a pursuit. Officers said Walker fired a shot from his vehicle during the chase. Walker ran from the vehicle unarmed, in a ski mask.

Police say he made a move officers perceived as a threat. Eight officers opened fire. Walker had at least 60 wounds to his body, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The officers are on administrative leave.