At-Large Akron City Council member, Linda Omobien is pushing back hard against against allegations from Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Police Chief, Steve Mylett, and Fraternal Order of Police President, Clay Cozart, that her recent characterization of last year's Akron police shooting of an unarmed black man, Jayland Walker, as "murder" was "irresponsible".
Omobien, who allows she could have used the word "killed" instead of "murdered" by police, challenges the criticism coming her way now, in light of years of public service, during which she says she has been a strong supporter of Akron Police, voting time and again to get them the resources they need.
She's also pushing back against the Union's vote of "No Confidence", and Cozart's allegation that her comment could influence the Grand Jury which will be meeting soon to consider whether or not any criminal charges ought to be filed against any of the police officers.
She calls that "ludicrous" in light of all of the video, and other evidence connected to the shooting which is still under review by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Walker died in a hail of police bullets fired by from eight Akron Police officers, after he jumped out of his car, and allegedly made threateneing gestures at them, following a highway chase, during which police claim he shot at them.
That version of the story is being challenged by Omobien, though, who says Walker was "running away" from police when he was shot.
In a press release, Mayor Dan Horrigan asks the community for patience as the independent review being conducted by the State Bureau of Criminal Investigations continues.
Police Chief Steve Mylett, and FOP President, Clay Cozart also issued statements.
In his, Mylett says in part, "I find the remarks irresponsible and reprehensible". But he adds, "While I am very disappointed with these remarks, I appreciate that Councilwoman Omobien has offered to retract her statement accusing APD officers of committing murder and to make amends." Cozart's statement characterized O'mobien's comment as "reckless, irresponsible, inflammatory, defaming".
In response, Omobien levelled some allegations of her own; including that she believes the reason she is being so heavily critized, is to deflect attention from the fact that three city council members made an agreement with the police union to to keep a young black attorney, Imokhai Okolo, off the new Citizen's Police Oversight Board, and that members of the Mayor's staff dug up the social media comments Okolo made that were used to try and torpedo his appointment.
City Council was unable to reach an agreement on the makeup of that board last week, and will revisit the issue on Monday, at which time, Omobien predicts, Okolo will be appointed anyway.