Jayland Walker press conference: Akron changes nighttime curfew

A U.S. Department of Justice team is in Akron working with city officials to help foster communication on issues related to the June 27 shooting death of Jayland Walker by Akron police.

This information was released Monday during the first of daily scheduled media briefings via video conference by Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Steve Mylett on the Walker shooting and the ensuing protests.

“They [DOJ] plan to be here for a while,” Horrigan said. “We certainly appreciate all the help they have been able to provide.

Jayland Walker protests changing curfew hours

Horrigan also announced that the city’s nighttime curfew, put in place due to sometimes violent nighttime protests in which police used force and tear gas on people, is being adjusted from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. morning from Monday; the previous curfew was from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The mayor said the change reflected the peaceful nature of protesters in recent days, as well as an attempt to help downtown businesses and prevent them from closing early.

The city announced that www.akronupdates.com would be its incident website, acting as a hub for providing information about the Jayland Walker shooting.

In a related development, the Akron Canton Barristers Association, a group made up mostly of black lawyers and judges, issued a statement on Monday urging people to be patient following the unrest related to the Walker shooting and other other recent violent deaths in the city. .

Department of Justice to help City of Akron, groups talk

Akron government officials are working with the Justice Department to facilitate a meeting with individuals and groups organizing the ongoing protests, Horrigan said. No meeting has been announced. The first DOJ team to arrive in Akron has pulled out, with replacement team members now here, according to the mayor.

The Justice Department’s Community Resources Division approached the city the day after Walker’s shooting “to help bridge some of the rift in communication between groups who have questions about city government, police, all of that,” Horrigan said. “I think they’ve been a very valued and reliable source on the ground to help facilitate some of those conversations.”

Horrigan said he was “certainly willing to have conversations with these groups under the auspices of the DOJ so that they can help facilitate some understanding at a table so that we can keep moving forward.”

Akron mayor won’t unilaterally accept demands after Jayland Walker shooting

Horrigan said he received a certified letter over the weekend from the Freedom BLOC (Black Led Organizing Collaborative), a group that has helped organize protests, and a list of demands. He said a response was prepared, but he wasn’t sure if it had been sent before the press conference.

“I’m certainly willing to meet with any group to talk about some of their concerns,” he said. “But I’m not going to unilaterally accept requests before a meeting.”

Justice Department spokespersons did not immediately respond to questions Monday about what its community relations services division provides in Akron.

But its website shows the federal department has more than a dozen community relations service (CRS) offices across the country. Akron is served by a regional office in Chicago.

CRS, the website says, is “America’s peacemaker” and works to improve communication and understanding in communities facing conflict.

Federal officials in these offices work with local officials, community leaders, law enforcement, civil rights activists and others. Among other things, CRS organizes meetings, identifies underlying issues, provides information on best practices, and acts as a third party in any mediation.

The mayor and chief of Akron cover several topics during a press conference

Monday’s town press conference touched on several topics, including the Friday night shooting death of 4-year-old Journei Tolbert.

Horrigan, Mylett and pastors on Friday evening, immediately after the girl’s death, asked protesters for at least a 48-hour break from further demonstrations to help reduce tensions and emotions in the city. The deaths of the girl and that of Johnny L. Gaiter, 40, at the same family event remained unsolved Monday. Officials said the deaths did not appear to be related to the Walker protests.

“It doesn’t have to be 48 hours. It could be 72, 100,” Horrigan said Monday. “I know there’s a level of tension there that we certainly recognise. But I’ve also been supporting those efforts for people to be able to protest. … I think that involves difficult conversations on both sides, and we ‘ I’m ready to meet and talk about it.”

In this image from the video, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett speaks Monday during a daily briefing on the police shooting of Jayland Walker.

Police names will remain sealed in the shooting death of Jayland Walker

No names of officers involved in the shooting will be released until the investigation is complete and a grand jury completes its work, Mylett said.

Due to the misinformation being spread, threats were made against Akron officers who were not part of Walker’s shooting, the chief said.

“These threats exist and they are real,” Horrigan said.

“The challenge right now is that there have been bounties on the heads of police officers,” Mylett said. “The level of aggression against the police, in all areas, but particularly against the police officers involved in the shooting – we have a duty to protect the community, to serve the community, but we also have a duty and a responsibility to protect our police officers and their families.”

Credible threats exist, says Akron police chief

Mylett said the department was working with the FBI and there were “credible threats” in Akron and elsewhere in the country. He did not go into details.

“Threats still exist and they are credible. We need to take precautions not just as a police department but as a community during protests,” Mylett said.

The mayor and police chief said they and others are reviewing police department policies and procedures in the wake of Walker’s shooting.

“We are always reviewing our policies. We are always reviewing best practices,” Mylett said. “We will review what happened here, and if there are any adjustments we need to make, we will make them.”

Press conferences will continue daily in Akron

Horrigan and Mylett are holding daily press briefings via Zoom amid ongoing protests over the fatal police shooting of Walker.

A city statement said the briefings are intended to “provide timely and consistent safety updates, and relay information more quickly to the public and the press.”

On Monday, Horrigan and Mylett made opening statements and then took written questions from members of the media who tuned into the invitation-only conference call.

Each briefing, at 11 a.m. daily, will be recorded and available on the city’s YouTube page, YouTube.com/AkronOhio. Briefings are also broadcast live. The city said there would be no briefing on Wednesday “to honor a citywide day of mourning for Jayland Walker’s memorial service.”

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