Fatal US police shooting of yet another African American sparks protests

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Police shooting of yet another African American in the Midwestern US city of Akron sparks protests. (File photo)

US police shooting death of yet another African American in the Midwestern city of Akron has sparked protests in the city, leading authorities to take unusual measures in fear of an unrest.

Angry protesters took to the streets of the city in the state of Ohio on Friday in response to the death of Jayland Walker, 25, earlier in the week over a traffic violation, local media reported citing the Akron police department.

Eight police officers were placed on paid administrative leave as the city braced for more protests after the incident, local authorities stated on Friday.

Snow plows and other large trucks have been deployed near the police department of the city of nearly 190,000 people to serve as barriers.

"We are planning for a possible gathering for demonstrations and ensuring continuity of services are provided to the entire community, including areas in and around downtown," Akron police department spokesman Lt. Michael Miller said.

"We are utilizing various tools and such in the event barricades are needed," he added.

Meanwhile, the annual Independence Day festivities set to be held on July 4 were also canceled amid fears of more massive street protests.

Announcing the cancellation, Akron’s Mayor Dan Horrigan said, “Now is not the time for a city-led celebration."

The deadly encounter unfolded early Monday morning after police officers attempted to pull over Walker on an unspecified traffic violation, officials said.

City authorities have offered few details of the shooting, promising to release body-cam video from the scene soon amid local media reports that dozens of shots were fired.

Officers were forced to chase him after he wouldn't stop, according to an Akron Police Department statement, which further alleged that during the pursuit, officers "reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle."

After the suspect jumped out of his moving car, officers continued their chase on foot, it added.

"Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them," police also claimed. "In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect."

Walker was pronounced dead on the scene.

"This is not a monster. This is not a man who ever caught a crime in his life," said attorney Bobby DiCello, who represents Walker's family.

He further told local media outlets that it was unclear why Walker had fled the police.

The incident marked the latest death of an African American citizen at the hands of the mostly white US police officers -- events that have triggered mass protests across the country over racism, social justice, as well as police brutality and racial profiling.

Small protests have been held in Akron in recent days and a larger rally is anticipated on Sunday.


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