The names of the eight Akron police officers allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of Gerland Walker were first seen on a flyer on a West Akron power pole over the weekend.
The police chief will neither confirm nor deny that they are accurate. But they later appeared on an anonymous website. Activists are spreading the list on social media. During public comment Monday night, a person using the nicknames read them into the city council’s official records.
As a policy, Beacon Journal generally does not name unaccounted suspects. The eight officers are currently under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation on charges of using deadly force but have not yet been charged. The decision will be made by a Summit County grand jury at the conclusion of the state investigation, which could take several months.
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Captain Dave Laughlin of the Akron Police Department said Sheriff Steve Mylett has not commented on the public disclosure of the alleged names, which come after the sheriff placed eight officers on paid leave and They were reassigned to desk duty.
Elaborating on his controversial reinstatement decision, Mylett said the FBI is still investigating two threats to police following the June 27 killing of Walker, who was unarmed after being shot 46 times in a cross-city car chase. And fleeing on foot, police say the 25-year-old black man fired a shot from his car.
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“So far, their identities have not been determined,” Mylett told the media on October 11. “So, the public knows exactly who was involved in the shooting, and I don’t think that information has been leaked. And, so, we’re going to take precautions to keep them safe.”
Mylett called in officers to go back to administrative duties to help address staffing shortages. While the Bureau of Criminal Investigation continues to conduct external reviews of lethal use of force, the Akron Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards and Accountability (or Internal Affairs) has not completed its review of officers’ conduct and whether any procedures were violated. Walker incident.
In an interview with the media last month, the police chief doubled down on safety as the reason for not releasing the names of the eight officers. He spoke again about the two threats retweeted by the FBI and deemed credible.
“These threats were just two months ago,” the director said. “And I’m not going to release names. I’m not going to put these officers in a more dangerous situation than they’ve been placed in. There may be time to release names after the BCI investigation and grand jury work, but until then, It is my duty and responsibility not only to protect public safety, but also to protect my employees.”
Clay Cozart, president of the Fraternity of Police No. 7, who represents Akron sworn officers, did not answer the phone and sent what he called a “general statement.”
Cozart wrote: “I’m not going to react to internet rumors from anarchists and hate-mongers (sic) calling the police pigs and murderers who make false accusations that are refuted and are being Threats MPs to meet them in a dark alley when summoned.”
The Rev. Robert DeJonet, pastor of the Walker family’s Christ St. Ashworth Shrine Church in West Akron, referred the Daily Beacon to the family’s legal counsel, DiCello Levitt. ).
“We are aware that the names of eight Akron police officers allegedly involved in the Jayland Walker shooting this summer are circulating online and in the Akron community,” attorneys Bobby DiCello and Kenneth Abbarno said in an emailed statement. We have not verified the accuracy of this information and cannot comment further. We ask the community to continue to take the Walker family to heart.”
Who released the names of Akron police officers?
When publishing the names on the WordPress site, an anonymous activist or group of activists said “47 pieces of information from the personnel files of the police officers involved in the killing of Jayland Walker” were matched with “publicly available sources of information” to generate ” The names of eight individuals employed by the Akron Police Department.”
The city has redacted names and all information deemed identifiable in personnel files that have been released to the public, including The Beacon Daily.
Akron Records:Here’s what new records tell us about the fatal shooting of Jaylan Walker by 8 Akron police officers
The anonymous site provided a link to a nine-page report detailing the evidence used to identify the eight officers, while placing the onus on the city to confirm the names.
“While this report lists possible identities for the eight officers involved, it is ultimately up to Akron officials to be transparent and hold officers accountable,” reads the anonymous website post.
An anonymous researcher with a local activist group said he and his colleagues were “shocked” when they saw the names posted online. Personnel files of these officials have been requested and received by a number of organizations, including the Beacon Journal, various media outlets, and more. The records have been reported by the Beacon Journal but have not been released to the public.
At the request of the Daily Beacon, the city’s legal department is compiling a comprehensive list of each person or entity requesting personnel files from police officers involved in the Walker shooting. The city said there was only one request seeking more information using the eight names now appearing online. However, the request was made using an encrypted email designed to hide the identity of its sender. It was produced on September 14, nearly a month before the officers were brought back to the office for duty.
A message sent to the encrypted email on Tuesday was not returned.
Contact reporter Doug Livingston at [email protected] or 330-996-3792.