Eight Akron police officers on leave after being involved in the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker will return to duty but in administrative roles, the city’s police chief said Tuesday.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett cited staffing shortages in announcing the move.
“We recognize that this decision will cause concern for the Walker family and the community, and we are sensitive to those concerns,” Mylett said in a statement.
“The officers will not be in the community on patrol but will provide internal support in non-uniform roles until the investigation is complete,” he said.
Mylett said staffing shortages at the department have resulted in fewer officers able to respond to calls.
Attorneys who represent Walker’s family criticized the move, calling it callous. They said the city should return them to leave.
“The decision to reinstate these officers — even to desk duty — fails to take into account a pending investigation into their actions that culminated in Jayland’s brutal shooting and unjustifiable death resulting from a barrage of more than 90 bullets,” attorneys Ken Abbarno and Bobby DiCello said in a statement.
The shooting is being investigated by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Once done it will go to a grand jury for possible criminal charges, officials have said.
Police tried to pull over Walker’s vehicle for a traffic violation around 12:30 a.m. June 27, and there was a car chase, police have said.
Officers “reported a gunshot came from the suspect vehicle,” during the pursuit, the Police Department has said.
After Walker got out of the car and ran on foot, officers chased him and opened fire. The police department said officers used Tasers but they were unsuccessful.
Police said when body camera footage of the shooting was released that Walker turned towards officers before he was shot.
A Summit County medical examiner determined Walker had 46 entrance wounds, and that he died of blood loss from internal injuries.
Walker was not armed when he was shot, police have said. A handgun was found in his car, according to police.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson has called for a federal investigation, saying in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that “Jayland Walker was executed by Akron, Ohio, police officers for a traffic violation.”