Police: About 50 arrested during protest over fatal OIS in Ohio

Officers used tear gas after a crowd failed to disperse and became violent, officials said


By Cory Shaffer
cleveland.com

AKRON, Ohio — Akron police said Monday evening that “approximately 50 adults” were arrested and that officers used tear gas during the previous night’s protests over the police killing of Jayland Walker.

A release from a department spokesman said that the people were arrested on various charges after a team of officers ordered the crowd to disperse from the Summit County Justice Center shortly after a curfew was imposed at 12 a.m. Monday.

The curfew came in response to “a group of violent protesters” who emerged from the larger, peaceful crowd and began to damage property, the release said.

Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer have asked for an explanation as to how the department could not provide the exact number of people of arrested when it sent the release out at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

The release said that those arrested were charged with either rioting, failure to disperse or misconduct during an emergency. Some are from the city of Akron and Summit County, and others are from adjoining counties, the release said.

The release said that, shortly after a curfew was imposed at midnight, several dozen demonstrators refused orders to disperse and a smaller group of people began breaking windows, tipping over planters and set fire to a dumpster.

A team of officers converged on demonstrators causing damage, and gave the rest of the group a “reasonable amount of time” to disperse, the release said. Officers then sprayed a chemical irritant on the demonstrators to break up the crowd “due to growing concerns that the situation could further escalate, paired with the refusal to comply with a lawful order to disperse,” the release said.

The police spokesman, Lt. Michael Miller, said the department echoed Walker’s family’s calls for protests to remain peaceful.

“We respect and support a citizen’s right to peacefully protest but cannot condone violence or property destruction,” Miller said.

The release comes as the city braced for another day of demonstrations on Monday. Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday and canceled several fireworks displays set for Monday’s Fourth of July holiday.

News reports showed Monday’s demonstrations featured a few dozen demonstrators marching peacefully through the city and no major incidents reported as of 5:30 p.m.

A group of Black elected officials from Summit County on Monday called on Horrigan to order police to focus on de-escalating tensions with protesters and to not call in the National Guard.

Akron police shot and killed Walker early June 27. The killing has sparked international media attention and several days of protests that boiled over Sunday after police released body camera videos that showed police fired dozens of shots on Walker, who was unarmed at the time.

Police said officers tried to pull Walker over for an unspecified traffic and equipment violation about 12:30 a.m. and Walker refused to stop. Officers said that Walker fired a gunshot during the chase, then got out of the car and ran away wearing a ski-mask. The city said officers used Tasers on Walker before the officers, whom the city has not named, shot him.

Attorneys for Walker’s family said that officers fired nearly 90 bullets, and that as many as 60 struck Walker.

The videos showed officers unleashed dozens of bullets on Walker, including several after he fell to the ground.

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