Wednesday, 19 April 2023 10:55

Akron's Citizens' Police Oversight Board release statement following Jayland Walker grand jury decision Featured

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Akron’s newly seated Citizens’ Police Oversight Board has issued a statement following the decision by the special grand jury to not indict the eight officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker.

The board was formed after the passage of Issue 10 last November, about 4 months after the shooting of Walker. As laid out in its governing charter, the board has been empowered to review investigations into the deadly use of force by Akron officers.

As the Akron Police Department begins their internal investigation into Mr. Walker’s death, the board says they will ensure that the investigation is “complete, thorough, and as transparent as possible."

The full text of the board’s statement is available below.

Dear Akron Citizen,

Yesterday Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced that a special grand jury, which was seated to hear evidence in the fatal shooting of Akron resident Jayland Walker, decided not to indict the officers involved. The no bill verdict means that none of the eight officers involved in the shooting will be criminally charged.

We the Members of Akron Citizens’ Police Oversight Board (the “Board”) extend our sincere condolences to Ms. Pamela Walker, Ms. Jada Walker, and the entire Walker family. We cannot begin to imagine what the Walker family is feeling. The Board would also like to recognize the numerous citizens who have contacted us to express disappointment and frustration over the grand jury’s verdict. We hear you and ask that you please continue to share your thoughts, concerns, and ideas.

The Board was created after the passage of Issue 10, which was proposed in the wake of Mr. Walker’s death, and Akron City Council’s adoption of Charter Amendment 68(a). The Board appreciates the hard work of Issue 10 organizing groups. The Board is committed to carrying out the Board’s duty to provide external and independent oversight and review of policing practices within the City of Akron, Ohio. The Board and the Office of Independent Police Auditor will rely on the authority granted under Charter Amendment 68(a) to ensure that the Akron Police Department’s internal investigation into Mr. Walker’s death is complete, thorough, and as transparent as possible. The Board will also consider what additional steps it might take concerning this tragic matter.

Finally, the Board acknowledges the mistrust that exists between Akron citizens and law enforcement. The Board will work tirelessly towards creating the conditions to which trust can be built. There is much work to be done, and the Board does not take this obligation lightly. 

Sincerely,

Citizens’ Police Oversight Board

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