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United Nations may investigate Akron police killing of Jayland Walker, family attorney says

 Walker family attorney Bobby DiCello takes questions during a press conference following Jayland Walker's funeral on July 13.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
Walker family attorney Bobby DiCello takes questions during a press conference following Jayland Walker's funeral on July 13.

The United Nations has offered to investigate the Akron police's fatal shooting of Jayland Walker, an attorney for the family said Wednesday during a press conference in downtown Akron.
Bobby DiCello, the Walker family attorney, said he was unsure what that investigation would entail but said it would likely start after the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation completed its own look into the shooting.

The UN body that would investigate is tasked with making "an expert inquiry into the shooting and advance racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent in the context of law enforcement," according to an email from DiCello's office.

Walker, 25, was killed in a hail of police gunfire on June 27 after a failed traffic stop led to a police pursuit and a brief foot chase.

During the press conference, which was held after Walker's funeral, DiCello vowed to hold police accountable, demanded a public apology from city leaders and called for Akron police department vehicles to be fitted with dashcams.

That's a "simple change that would have lent clarity to this situation and others where Black Americans have been stopped," he said.

DiCello also criticized investigators, who he said did not take statements from the officers involved until after a police press conference releasing the video of Walker's death.

Akron police released bodycam footage of Walker's last moments on July 3. Last year, the city passed a law that required the release of video footage that documents a police officer's "use of deadly force or force that results in serious bodily injury" within seven days of the incident.

Activist Tamika Mallory, who also spoke, took issue with the repeated requests that protesters remain nonviolent.

"The protesters did not start this. The violence came from the police," she said. "My estimation is that we should turn to the perpetrators of this incident — those who forced the activists to come out of their homes. We need to tell them to be nonviolent to do what is necessary to deescalate."

About 50 people were arrested in downtown Akron in the early morning of July 4 after the city released bodycam video of the police shooting. Protests that had been nonviolent turned destructive. Vandals broke storefront windows, overturned planters and set fire to a dumpster in the downtown area. Both the family and city officials have repeatedly called for peaceful protests.

Roddray Walker, Jayland Walker's cousin, said through tears that he left his two small children at home in Texas when he traveled to Akron for the funeral.

"I had to leave them behind because I don’t want them to be exposed to the reality of what it is to be Black in America," he said.
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Stephanie Czekalinski