WASHINGTON, D.C. and AKRON, OHIO (July 5, 2022) – The National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial and Akron, Ohio Urban League President and CEO Teresa LeGrair issued the following statement after body camera footage of Jayland Walker’s death was released this past weekend:

“My heart is heavy after learning of yet another unarmed black man whose life was taken so violently and suddenly at the hands of police,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “Jayland Walker was pulled over for a routine traffic stop. Instead, he lost his life at the hands of eight officers who shot at him – one young man – at least 60 times. No matter the ultimate contributing factors, we know that this is the very definition of excessive force. These officers must be held accountable for each and every bullet because it is hard to imagine 60 shots were justified. We cannot sit idly by and watch as officers abuse the public’s trust and take for granted the lives of Black men and women. Our Black lives must matter to them. Although President Biden passed an executive order on policing that would create a new national database of police misconduct, mandate the adoption of body-worn camera policies, and revise use of force policies, Congress still needs to pass legislation like the George Floyd Justice in Policing act to codify these practices into law. Jayland Walker and the others who have lost their lives deserve justice and this nation has a responsibility to make sure they get it.”

“Jayland Walker’s death, just like so many others, will forever change the Akron community,” said Teresa LeGrair, President and CEO of the Akron Urban League. “Akron is home to hundreds of thousands of people who work here and who live here. This is our home, and we deserve to feel safe in it. Police officers have a duty to protect and serve our communities, and all citizens who live within them. This senseless tragedy is one that Black people are all too familiar with and is the direct result of policies, procedures, and attitudes that the Urban League and other advocates have fought for years to eliminate. The Urban League sends its prayers to Jayland’s family and loved ones, and we are relieved to see that these eight officers are off the streets at least temporarily, but this is just a start. We will be working to ensure the police department and, if needed, the Department of Justice conducts a thorough investigation into how this stop was handled and how Jayland could have been shot 60 times. Moreover, we will continue to urge our national leaders to create a national standard to hold police officers accountable for their actions on the force and keep our communities safe from perpetrators – no matter who they are.” 

Early last year, the National Urban League produced its 21 Pillars for Redefining Public Safety and Restoring Community Trust to offer a framework for advocacy that redefines public safety and restores community trust between communities and law enforcement. To read more about our plan, click here.

Niambé Tomlinson

Senior Director of Communications, Advocacy & External Affairs

Washington Bureau, National Urban League

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