World Insights: Brutal police shooting of African American man tears open scar of U.S. racism-Xinhua

World Insights: Brutal police shooting of African American man tears open scar of U.S. racism

Source: Xinhua| 2022-07-05 13:06:00|Editor:

WASHINGTON, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The brutal police shooting of African American Jayland Walker by multiple officers with dozens of shots in Akron, Ohio, a week ago has torn open the nation's scar of racism.

Protesters continued to take to the streets in Akron on Monday to demand justice for Walker while decrying police violence and racism.

A day earlier, the Akron Police Department released body-camera footage of the deadly encounter, which took place after midnight on June 27 during an attempted traffic stop.

Officers attempted to pull over Walker on unspecified traffic violations and they chased his vehicle on the expressway for several minutes, according to the police.

Walker then allegedly jumped out of his car while the footage showed officers pursuing him on foot before opening fire.

The police department said officers "reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle" during the encounter.

Walker, 25, suffered more than 60 gunshot wounds and was unarmed at the time, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett told reporters on Sunday.

Eight officers who were directly involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave as part of the protocol in a police shooting.

The city had contacted the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation and requested an independent investigation into the incident. The process is underway.

"A traffic violation ended in 60 gunshot wounds before they handcuffed his dead body," Brian Normoyle, an American political and social commentator and writer tweeted. "There can be no excuse."

"Remember it. Don't forget it. And add it to the interminable list of atrocities against Black Americans perpetrated by systemic racism," Normoyle wrote.

Akron-native and Lakers star LeBron James also sent a message on Sunday to his hometown in the wake of Walker's death, tweeting "prayers for my city today."

Walker's family has questioned the use of deadly force against him by the officers.

An attorney for the family, Bobby DiCello, said that he has not seen any evidence yet regarding allegations that Walker had shot at officers and that the man was unarmed and fleeing when being shot.

Akron declared a state of emergency on Monday, imposing a curfew for the city's downtown for the night and canceling the Independence Day fireworks performance.

"Early yesterday, we had several peaceful protests in the downtown footprint related to the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker," Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a statement on Monday. "These protests did not escalate to violence and destruction."

"However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful. There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron," Horrigan continued. "We cannot and will not tolerate violence or the destruction of property."

The police killing of Walker came a month after the second anniversary of African American man George Floyd's murder by white police officer Derek Chauvin who pressed his knee on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds during a street arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Floyd's death set off nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racism in the United States in the summer of 2020.

"Racism is real in America. It has always been. Xenophobia is real in America. It has always been," U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said from the White House in May.

According to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that month, three-quarters of African Americans are worried that they or someone they love will be attacked because of their race. The survey also found that more than half of African Americans believe the problem of racism will get worse in their lifetimes.

Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, also weighed in on Walker's suffering, saying that his death "was murder. Point blank."

"This doesn't happen to white people in America," Johnson said. "We are just trying to live our lives, and we are tired of being hunted like prey. We know that pulling over for the police is often a death sentence."

Police in the United States shoot and kill over 1,000 people each year, and African Americans are victims at a disproportionate rate, according to data from Mapping Police Violence.

African Americans are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, the data showed.