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Officers involved in fatal Walker shooting are back at work on administrative duty

 An Akron Police cruiser is seen as demonstrators march across the All-American Bridge in Akron on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
An Akron Police cruiser is seen as demonstrators calling for justice for Jayland Walker march across the All-American Bridge in Akron on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. The eight officers involved in Walker's death have been taken off administrative leave and assigned to non-uniform administrative duties to relieve staffing challenges in the Akron Police Department, according to a Tuesday news release.

The eight officers involved in the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker have returned to work, according to a press release from the Akron Police Department.

The officers, who have not been identified, were taken off administrative leave to offset staffing challenges in the police department, public information officer Lt. Michael Miller said in a late Tuesday news release.

"These shortages have resulted in fewer officers responding to calls for service and have strained our patrol shifts," Miller said in the release.

The officers have been reassigned to administrative duty and will not be in uniform, he said.

“We recognize that this decision will cause concern for the Walker family and the community, and we are sensitive to those concerns,” Miller said in the release.

Miller added that Police Chief Steve Mylett and police department leaders consulted “community leaders and other stakeholders” on whether to reassign the officers in the weeks prior to Mylett’s decision.

“The consensus of these conversations was an agreement that this step would provide needed relief and support to ensure there are no interruptions in the services we provide to the community,” Miller said.

Walker, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting, suffered 46 bullet entrance or graze injuries after a car and foot chase June 27, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner. The shooting sparked outrage and protests across the city, as well as calls for police reform.

Freedom BLOC, one of the main groups leading the protests and demands for justice, issued a statement late Tuesday criticizing the decision to bring back the officers.

“This is unacceptable, and our community is outraged,” Freedom BLOC leaders said in the statement. “This is not Justice for Jayland Walker. This is a flagrant injustice to Jayland, to his family, to our community, and to Black and brown people who are continuously harmed, abused, and killed by those sworn to serve and protect us.”

The statement also urges residents to vote for Issue 10 in the November election, which would create a civilian police review board. City Council recently approved the creation of a different review board.

The officers involved in the shooting were immediately placed on paid administrative leave and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is investigating the incident, Miller said.

The case will be submitted to the Summit County Grand Jury for evaluation once the investigation is completed.

The police department’s Office of Professional Standards and Accountability will also conduct a separate internal investigation, Miller added. Chief Mylett and the city's police auditor will review the results of the investigation, he said.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.