WASHINGTON, D.C. and AKRON, OHIO (April 18, 2023) – Today, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial and Akron Urban League President and CEO Teresa LeGrair issued the following statement after a jury chose not to indict the officers for shooting Jayland Walker:

“A routine traffic stop should not be a death sentence for Black people in this country,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “I am disappointed – disappointed that the officers involved won’t be held accountable, disappointed that Jayland was killed so brutally, and disappointed that our black lives do not matter. There is no question that eight Akron Police Officers used disproportionate force against Jayland and while we are pleased to see the community has formed its own civilian review board, this is only the first step. We demand that the Department of Justice conduct a thorough investigation into the murder of Jayland Walker and urge national leaders to pass legislation creating an accountability standard for police officers into law.”

“Our hearts are heavy and filled with mourning surrounding the grand jury decision on the fatal shooting of Jayland Walker by Akron police officers. We continue to stand together with the Walker family, and we also recognize the Akron community’s hurt and outrage around the killing of Jayland Walker. The Akron Urban League will continue to advocate for systemic change to prevent future tragedies like this from occurring in our community,” said Teresa R. LeGrair, President and CEO, Akron Urban League. “For too long, there has been a sense that police officers are immune to consequences for their actions, even when they result in injury or death. Jayland Walker should still be alive, along with countless other Black lives taken too soon and too often. We understand the impact systemic racism has on the Black community and our promise has and will always be to fight for justice, stand with our community in a time of need, and to provide support and safe spaces to those that need to process this tragedy. We will take the necessary steps to work alongside our community to implement an effective citizen’s oversight police board that will provide an additional layer of transparency to continue to build trust between the community and the Akron Police Department (APD). Our goal is to dismantle the long-standing practices of institutional racism within police departments and build a bridge between the community and APD to reimagine public safety for Black and Brown people.”