Akron organizers march for Jayland Walker, promote civilian review board charter amendment
About 150 people marched through downtown Akron Monday to call for justice for Jayland Walker, who was fatally shot by Akron Police this summer.
They also brought attention to a ballot measure they believe will do just that – Issue 10, a charter amendment that would create a civilian police review board.
“We’ve got to march down there and vote for common sense legislation like the civilian review board. That’s how we save our communities. We don’t save our community by putting more police,” said Rev. Ray Greene Jr., executive director of activist group Freedom BLOC.
The review board would give citizens more input into the police department’s policies, added Judi Hill, president of the Akron chapter of the NAACP.
“That’s powerful, folks. And they’re afraid of that. But what they’re going to be more afraid of is when it passes, because a passage means real change. Permanent change,” Hill said.
If passed, the 9-member civilian review board would be codified in the city’s charter.
Members of Freedom BLOC, the Akron NAACP and the local Urban League led the march through the north side of downtown. The group marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and across the All-American Bridge.
Several people rode in cars ahead of the group of marchers, including Walker’s mom, Pamela.
After the march, she thanked the crowd for their support and called for more accountability from the police.
“Something needs to be done about the Akron police killing my son like that, OK? Because it’s not right,” Walker said. “Something needs to happen; something needs to change. I would hate for another mother to go through this, and it probably will happen.”
The Walker family’s legal team also walked alongside the organizers.
Lead attorney Bobby DiCello called for an independent, outside prosecutor to decide whether the case should be tried or brought to a grand jury.
“We do not want the local prosecutor of this city or county to do that work. We do not want the local guys helping the local guys,” DiCello said.
Walker was wounded or grazed 46 timesby police after a car and foot chase in late June. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into the incident. The eight officers involved are on paid administrative leave.
Organizers were also registering people to vote and encouraging them to vote for Issue 10.
There’s already a civilian review board in the works in Akron, an ordinance created by Mayor Dan Horrigan and passed by city councilseveral weeks ago.
If Issue 10 passes, it would supersede the mayor’s ordinance, and the review board would have to be tweaked to fit the charter.