Jayland Walker's family on Wednesday demanded federal authorities take over the investigation of police officers who gunned down the Black motorist last month in Akron, Ohio.
Family attorney Bobby DiCello said his clients are particularly concerned with a local police union leader speaking publicly in defense of the officers and sharing details of the chase that led to Walker's death.
"The Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Attorney General's Office, was brought in to maintain some form of trust, some form of integrity in this investigation," DiCello told reporters.
"That's what we were told. And you did not hear us initially ask for a different investigative body to get involved because we wanted to give that opportunity to the state to run its investigation. And we've given it that opportunity and now we are calling the Department of Justice to replace the Bureau of Criminal Investigation."
The NAACP made a similar call for federal intervention last week.
Representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Akron Fraternal Order of Police could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) pledged a "thorough, independent" probe.
“BCI shall remain steadfast in our commitment to independent investigations regarding officer involved shootings, and this case is no different," the BCI rep said in a statement.
"The family and the community deserves a thorough, independent investigation, and that is what they will get.”
Walker died in a hail of police gunfire in the early morning hours of June 27 following a brief foot chase and car pursuit.
His family questions why Akron police used deadly, overwhelming force to bring down the 25-year-old Black motorist.
Walker suffered 46 gunshot wounds, a medical examiner revealed last week, labeling his death a homicide — a common forensic pathology term that means taking of life by another person and is not a criminal or legal conclusion.
Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler broke down where he was hit: 15 gunshot wounds to his torso, 17 gunshots to his pelvis and upper legs, one bullet to his face, eight to his arms and right hand, and five to his knees, lower right leg and right foot.
There were also 15 exit wounds.
A toxicological screening revealed no evidence of drugs and alcohol, the medical examiner said.
The deadly encounter began when officers tried pulling over Walker on an unspecified traffic violation, according to officials.
Officers said they were forced to chase the vehicle Walker was in after he wouldn’t stop. During that pursuit, they “reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle,” Akron police have said.
When Walker jumped out of his moving car, officers pursued him on foot and eventually shot at him in a barrage of gunfire. He was pronounced dead on the scene, and no gun was found on Walker’s body. A gun was found in Walker’s car, police said.
Walker's mother, Pamela Walker, on Wednesday shared memories of her son, saying he was the surviving twin of a miscarriage and recalling how he was a big fan of pro wrestling and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
"Today is a good day, because it's Jayland's birthday," she told reporters, fighting back tears. "I can only go on memories right now. I can only go on memories."