I'm Destinee and this is where I share my life, my work, and my heart. As an activist and multi-passionate creative, you'll find a little bit of everything I love here. I may not be for everyone, but I hope that you'll feel welcomed, encouraged, and inspired from this online space.
A recent survey conducted in the City of Akron shows that most Akron Residents want some form of change in terms of policing and that the issues Akron Residents are most concerned about are issues that the police are not actually solving. The top issue that Akron Residents are concerned about in the city is gun violence (20.4%). The second issue most concerning to Akron Residents is crime in general (13.1%). The third most concerning issue is police brutality (8.9%). According to this survey, more Akron Residents were concerned about police brutality than they were about the safety of law enforcement officers (7.3%).
This is an interesting finding considering Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett cited “officer safety” as the reason he refused to release the names of the eight officers that shot 94 rounds at Jayland Walker and killed him in 2022. Regardless of increased spending on police budgets nationwide, it hasn’t contributed to a decline in gun violence, crime, or police brutality. How much more evidence does one need to realize that more police, more guns, and more money to police departments do not actually make our communities safer?
Upon asking Akron Residents what they believed the most appropriate resolution would be to the killing of Jayland Walker, 74.3% of them responded that they wanted some form of change or accountability. Most respondents thought the most appropriate resolution was for the police to be punished (29.7%), for the police to be reformed (24.7%), or for the police to be held accountable (19.9%). A very small percentage of Akron Residents (15.4%) actually believed that the police were correct in their actions that led to the death of Jayland Walker. An even smaller percentage of somewhat indifferent folks (10.3%) believed a full fair investigation was appropriate. I find it quite telling that more people believed the police were correct without having a “full fair investigation” first. That’s wildly interesting.
What’s ironic is that if you’ve taken even the smallest peek at the Ohio BCI report, you’d know that the investigation into Jayland Walker’s murder was anything but fair—far from it actually. Initially after the shooting, “the Akron Police Department requested only the use of BCI’s Crime Scene Unit to process the scene and that Akron Police personnel would conduct the investigation.” It wasn’t until approximately 11:00 AM that “the Akron Police Department requested that BCI’s Special Investigations Unit conduct the investigation.”
To put it more simply, for approximately the first 10 hours and 22 minutes after Jayland Walker was killed by eight Akron Police officers, the Akron Police Department “investigated” themselves and, “…no Special Investigations Unit agent [from Ohio BCI] responded to or took any action at the scene.” This fact is documented on the very first page of the “Prosecutor Summary” provided by Ohio BCI and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. It’s concerning to me that the very first documented finding of this investigation summary is a statement that could potentially release Ohio BCI and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office from legal responsibility for anything untoward that may have occurred on or off the crime scene before they were brought in to take over the investigation from the Akron Police Department.
In my opinion, the community should be more concerned that not a single investigative agent from the Ohio BCI responded to or took action at the scene. How could one possibly conduct a fair and impartial investigation of a crime scene that they never visited during the most crucial hours after a fatal shooting? I imagine that in the days to follow, Ohio BCI investigators likely visited the crime scene, but by that time, evidence would’ve been collected and the crime scene would’ve been cleaned up. It’s also important to mention that no direct witness statements by those involved were taken for one to two weeks.
I have many questions as to what occurred during those 10 hours and 22 minutes where no legitimate investigation was being conducted. I’d argue that over 10 hours provides more than ample time and opportunity to manipulate, fabricate, or eliminate valuable evidence. With a 10 hour and 22 minute head start, I imagine the possibilities are endless.
In addition to the 10 hour and 22 minute head start the Akron Police Department created, the Akron Police officers involved had between a 9 to 15-day head start before they were formally interviewed for the very first time. The shooting occurred on June 27, 2022, but the first officer interview with Ohio BCI wasn’t conducted until July 6, 2022 and the last officer interview was conducted on July 12, 2022. In what scenario would a civilian involved in the shooting death of another person ever be given 9-15 days without any law enforcement agency trying to interview them on the record?
Additionally, all eight officers admitted to viewing their body camera footage at least one time. Some officers viewed it upwards of three times prior to their interviews with Ohio BCI. Although each of the eight officers claimed that their on-the-record statements were based off their own recollection and not the body camera footage they viewed after the fact, I can’t help but to consider what a privilege it must be to review footage of one’s behavior and be able to mindfully corroborate that prior to giving a formal statement on the record.
There are many concerning details about the way the investigation of Jayland Walker’s killing was conducted. I’ve only mentioned a few here, and that was mostly to emphasize how a majority of Akron Residents want to see change in the way that policing is done in the City of Akron. If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also enjoy these posts.