Shooting Death Of DoorDash Driver Prompts Renewed Outrage At Police
Anger over police shootings has flared once again in Akron, Ohio. A 25-year-old DoorDash driver, Jayland Walker, was stopped by police while he was on the road. All we know for sure about what happened next was that Walker ended up dead, after being shot dozens of times by the cops.
While the situation is still under investigation, facts that have come to light so far suggest the possibility that this unfortunate incident may have been one of many instances of police using excessive and deadly force against a young man of color. Walker, who was Black, was stopped for a traffic infraction. The young man had no criminal record, and no reason to get into an altercation with cops.
Yet Walker, who allegedly was fleeing from police, appeared to have been shot as many as 46 times, according to a medical examiner. There were at least 17 wounds in his pelvis and upper legs, 15 in his torso, eight to his arms, five to his lower legs, and one to his face, autopsy findings showed. According to the medical examiner’s report, he appeared to have died of blood loss from his many wounds. Walker didn’t have any alcohol or illegal drugs in his system.
What could have prompted police to unleash a literal storm of bullets at Walker? The account from police in Ohio leaves a lot of questions unanswered. According to the cops, Walker jumped out of his vehicle and ran after his car was stopped around 12:30 a.m. They claimed he fired a gun, leading officers to believe that he posed a deadly threat. But his family members and lawyer say none of that sounds true. According to his family, Walker was a quiet, shy, kind, and thoughtful young man. Apart from his grief over the recent death of his finance, who had been his high school sweetheart, in a traffic accident, his family members had no cause for concern about him. The police allegation that he fired a gun does not sound accurate to his family and attorneys — he was found unarmed after he was killed.
Police in the U.S. have shot and killed more than 1,040 people in just the past year, including Walker, according to The Washington Post, which tracks data on police shootings. Many are Black or Hispanic, and are often unarmed when they are killed. Walker’s death marks the third fatal police shooting in Akron since late December. Protests erupted following the killing, and the Akron mayor said it was a “dark day for our city.” He canceled Akron’s planned Fourth of July weekend festivities in light of the tragedy. But while the mayor was right to acknowledge Walker’s death, his response clearly fell far short of what protestors wanted: more police accountability.
Did this death have to happen? Why did police officers open fire? Was there misconduct at issue? A case of mistaken identity? Walker’s family and the city of Akron deserve answers and any legal remedies they may be entitled to depending on the results of the investigation. No one wants to lose a loved one to a mistake or misconduct by police.