AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — A grand jury is soon expected to decide whether the eight Akron police officers involved in the June 2022 shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker will face charges.
Meanwhile, city officials have prepared for unrest in the streets by setting up barricades at the city’s justice center and police department and the county courthouse, boarding up the windows of city hall and restricting access to other public buildings.
City residents can get the latest updates on road closures and building closures and learn more about the grand jury’s process and civil rights for protesters on the city’s dedicated website, AkronUpdates.com.
What is closed today?
The city Municipal Building and the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center, both along South High Street, are closed to the public. But city services won’t be interrupted. City council meetings will instead be held virtually until the building reopens.
The Akron Municipal Court’s courtrooms are closed to the public and will remain closed until further notice. Arraignments are being held remotely. Residents can pay fines online. Follow the court’s website for updates.
Many Downtown Akron businesses also boarded up their windows last week.
Where are protests happening?
A designated demonstration zone is planned along South High Street, from East Bowery Street to State Street. That portion of the roadway will be blocked by barricades to protect protesters from traffic.
“The Akron Police Department and Mayor [Dan] Horrigan want everyone to get home safely from protests: this includes protestors, the traveling public, bystanders, the police, the press, and anyone else who may come in contact with a civil demonstration,” reads the city’s website. “We understand that citizens may also choose to demonstrate and protest elsewhere and they will of course be able to do so.”
Walker was shot 46 times in a police pursuit during which officers claimed Walker fired a gun from his vehicle. He later fled on foot. Investigators found a gun and a loaded magazine in Walker’s car.
Groups on Tuesday prayed for peace downtown.
“We’re praying first for comfort and peace for the Walker family, that’s first and foremost. We don’t ever want to forget the reason that we’re here, but also we’re praying for the leadership of our city, from the mayor to council to the grand jury,” R. Stacey Jenkins, senior pastor of House of Prayer for All People, told FOX 8 News.