A rally was held late Wednesday, July 6th, at the Federal Plaza by civil rights activists who along with a diverse group of supporters called for justice in the fatal police-related shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker all over a broken taillight.
Walker, an African American who had no police record, was shot 60 times by 8 Akron policemen, 7 white, 1 black, during an attempted traffic stop for a broken taillight.
The nightmare for Walker began on June 27th who, according to police, led them on a car chase and with the car still going he allegedly jumped out and was shot 60 times by Akron police.
At the protest held at the Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn, several signs read, “Black Lives Matter.”
Frank Chapman, executive director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and Bishop Tavis Grant, and national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, called for an independent investigation including by the U.S. Justice Department, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his Attorney General, Dave Yost.
Akron, Ohio police claimed they tried to stop Walker, who was grieving over the death of his fiancée, but he sped off. Eight officers pursued him; however, with his car still moving, Walker jumped out running.
That is when the policemen peeled off 90 bullets at least 60 mostly hitting Walker in the back after they claim to have seen a flash of light coming from Walker. Police say they found a gun in Walker’s car.
“Call his name,” Grant bellowed several times with the crowd at the Federal Plaza screaming Walker’s name.
Grant said people are marching and raising their voices nationwide and demonstrating about the police-related killing of Walker. “It seems like there is a pattern and practice against black and brown people driving while black, jogging while black, sitting still while black, black while black,” Grant said.
“Jayland Walker should be alive tonight. There is no reason and it is extraordinarily disturbing that police fired 100 rounds and shot him 60 times.
“You’ve seen it with Eric Gardner. You’ve seen it with Michael Brown. You’ve seen it with Rekia Boyd. You’ve seen it with Laquan McDonald…,” Bishop Grant said calling the roll of those unarmed blacks who were fatally shot by police.
“In Akron alone since 2013, there have been 28 police-involved shootings where excessive deadly force was used. Seven this year (including) Jayland Walker.
“What in the hell is going on in Akron, Ohio that these officers are able to take the lives of unarmed black and brown people, and nobody goes to jail for it,” Bishop Grant said.
He challenged the coalition to say Walker’s name again. “We are are standing by the family who are terrorized and traumatized by the way their only son, their only brother’s life was taken.”
Bishop Grant said the marching and protesting of Walker’s death will continue and if nothing is done about his death “we will shut it down,” he bellowed with the crowd chiming in with his chant.
And the movement to do so, Grant said, “starts right here in Chicago. “Jayland Walker’s life matters,” he said. “Power to the people.”
Chapman knows all about injustice having spent 15 years in prison from 1961-1996 for a crime he never committed. At the age of 19, he was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery and was housed at a Missouri prison.
Calling for justice for Walker, Chapman told the Chicago Crusader, “The situation in Akron, Ohio cries out for justice. “There is no way you can rationalize and justify shooting somebody 60 times over a broken taillight.
“They were shooting 9-millimeter guns including when he was on the ground,” Chapman said. “His body was riddled with bullets. There is no justification for that.”
“We also support the demands of the Walker family who are demanding that those eight police officers who perpetrated this crime be brought to justice,” Chapman said. “We are going to keep protesting until our demands are met. It will end when we win.”
The coalition also highlighted the death of 22-year-old Jada Johnson, who was experiencing a mental health crisis in Fayetteville, North Carolina, who was also killed by the police.
Chapman’s coalition is calling on the Chicago aldermen to pass the “Treatment not Trauma” ordinance that creates a 24-hour crisis response hotline for those suffering from mental health-related emergencies and to reopen the city’s closed menta health clinics.
Activist Kobi Guillory, a member of Chapman’s organization and an organizer for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, yelled, “When black lives are under attack, what do we do,” the crowd responded, “Stand up and fight back.”