Updated as of 7/20/2022 at 3:15 p.m.
Though Jayland Walker has been laid to rest, the police department continues to push the narrative that his killing was justified. A source told News 5 Cleveland the Akron officers suspected Walker was up to something criminal the night he died. However, attorney Bobby DiCello says these new facts can compromise the investigation.
that he had not been tested for gunshot residue, a key element in determining whether he had shot a firearm.
Per the report, Akron Fraternal Order of Police President Clay Cozart claime the officers weren’t just chasing Walker because of and traffic and equipment violation. Cozart told News 5 that officers tried to pull Walker over earlier that night but after running his plates they saw he had been in pursuit the day before. But, they let him go. Later, officers spotted his car again in a “high crime” area where a shooting had previously occurred.
More on the findings from News 5 Cleveland:
“When they allowed that vehicle to enter Route 8 and let that vehicle go not wanting to stop him for just that information and just the equipment violation,” Cozart said.
Cozart said the officers returned to the Howard and Tallmadge area, a known high crime spot, where a homicide happened outside a bar about a week before Walker’s shooting.
“When they returned, that vehicle also returned, so that raised their suspicion,” Cozart said.
DiCello said in a press conference Wednesday that Cozart wasn’t a significant source in the case but somehow made himself one in order to defend his colleagues.
“He shouldn’t have any specifics ‘cause last I checked, he wasn’t involved in either the shooting or the operations of the city Police Department. So, congratulations Mr. Cozart. You’ve made yourself a witness - we are going to drill down to figure out exactly how you became a witness,” said DiCello.
DiCello also criticized Cozart for trying to defend the officers responsible by inserting new information that had not been publicly disclosed. The piece of information we’re missing is a gunshot residue test to confirm Walker shot at the cops (as they so allege). The medical examiner said the test would not have been helpful anyway.
Read more on gunshot residue testing from WKYC:
“Although the technology used to demonstrate the presence or absence of gunshot residue is sound, there are many factors that contribute to false positives or false negatives,” [Dr. Lisa Kohler] said. “Gunshot residue testing can detect specific particles related to the discharge of a firearm, but the results of that testing is not conclusive as to whether the person did or did not fire a weapon.
“We know that gunshot residue is easily transferable, easily misinterpreted and has led to the wrongful conviction of individuals across our country,” Bell Hardaway told News 5 Cleveland.
To recap: the reason the officers decided to shoot at Walker remains unproven and they followed him because his car was driving through a sketchy area. There is still nothing to justify 46 gunshot wounds.