The 25-year-old’s death at the hands of eight Akron police officers, following a chase, led to weeks of demonstrations across the city of Akron this summer.
“Every 10 to 15 minutes, I’m thinking about what happened to him. Was he in pain? What was he thinking? Did he suffer? Why did they do all of that?” said Pamela Walker.
June 27, her son was shot and killed by eight Akron police officers after a traffic stop for a broken tail light turned into a chase that ended with officers firing 90 shots, hitting Jayland 46 times.
Police say Jayland fired a shot at them during the chase, and although a gun was located in his vehicle, investigators say he was unarmed at the time he was shot.
“Please, please don’t give up on us because something needs to be done about the police department killing my son like that. It’s not right and something needs to happen, something need to change,” said Jayland Walker’s mother.
Before the rally, a few hundred people participated in a “Unity March” through the streets of Akron.
Jayland Walker’s mother, sister and other relatives joined community activists, church leaders and concerned residents, demanding justice, calling for unity and seeking reforms in the Akron Police Department.
“We have a great city. We have a great police force, but we also have some issues that we need to address. This is to help us not forget that we need to make changes,” said Akron NAACP president Judi Hill.
“The reality is things got to change. We want to see that change happen, it’s part of what we’re doing here today,” said Akron resident Joe Tucker.
The marchers chanted and carried their message around the city for about an hour. Other family members, including a cousin, also named Pamela Walker, say it is heart-warming to see so many people come out to support Jayland Walker’s memory and their cause.
“They were peaceful. He wasn’t a bad kid and they were just good church-going people and then for this to happen too, you know, it hurts,” said his cousin.
The rally was also used to urge residents to vote in November.
They asked them to support “Issue 10,” which would create a review board composed of civilians who would have more oversight of alleged police misconduct.
Akron’s mayor and city council have proposed legislation creating a similar review board.
Community members and attorneys for the family say they would like an independent prosecutor to examine the officers’ actions to see whether criminal charges should be filed.
The eight officers involved in the shooting remain on paid administrative leave.