AKRON, Ohio — The eight police officers who shot Jayland Walker last summer used excessive force when they fired 94 bullets at him during a foot chase and participated in a “culture of violence and racism” within Akron’s police department, according to a lawsuit filed in Ohio federal court Friday.
Months after a grand jury declined to indict the unnamed officers in the death of Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, his family is seeking at least $45 million in damages from the officers, the city of Akron and city officials, according to a press release.
During a routine traffic stop on June 27, 2022, police officers fatally shot Walker after he fired a single bullet from his car, then ran from the officers, according to a state investigation. He left the gun in his still-moving car.
His death gained national attention and roiled yet another city amid heightened tensions with police over the killing of a Black man that started with a traffic stop.
The officers fired nearly 100 bullets at Walker in less than 7 seconds when he refused to put up his hands and appeared to reach into his waistband, believing him to be armed and a “deadly threat,” the state investigation said.
Police officers violated Walker’s rights to freedom from excessive force under the fourth amendment when they shot him in a hail of gunfire even though Walker was unarmed, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit further alleges that for years, and without consequences, the city of Akron, Mayor Daniel Horrigan and Chief of Police Stephen Mylett have knowingly allowed Akron police officers to engage in “violent behavior” that “disproportionately involves African Americans.”