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Protests intensify in US after police released video of Black man's killing

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)
The Black Lives Matter march began at the library and wound through downtown streets for several hours. Other protest events followed in the afternoon. (File photo)

Angry protesters took to the streets in the US state of Ohio on Sunday after police released footage of the shooting death of an African American man.

The graphic video showed eight police officers involved in a shooting that killed Jayland Walker after he fled a traffic signal on June 27 in the city of Akron in Ohio. The 25-year-old was struck by at least 60 bullets.

On Sunday, the fourth straight day of protests, protesters returned to the streets of Akron, marching to City Hall while carrying banners with slogans such as "Justice for Joyland."

Local authorities in the city of 190,000 people had on Friday moved snowplows and other heavy equipment near Akron’s police department to foil the protest.

After initially offering little details about the death of Walker, Akron officials finally released two videos on Sunday: one that was a compilation of body-camera footage, body-cam still frames, and voiceover, and another of the complete body-cam footage of the entire chase and shooting.

According to the videos, police engaged the victim in a car chase after he drove off following a traffic stop.

After being chased for several minutes, Walker got out of his car while it was still moving and fled on foot. Officers tried to subdue him with their tasers, but he kept running.

Several officers finally chased Walker to a parking lot. The body-cam footage is too blurry to see clearly what happens, but an initial police statement released after the shooting claims the unarmed victim behaved in a way that caused officers to believe he posed a "deadly threat."

'Over 60 wounds' hit victim

All police officers present at the scene opened fire on Walker, shooting him multiple times in rapid succession, the videos show.

He was pronounced dead on the spot.

Akron police chief Steve Mylett said he didn't know the exact number of bullets fired at Walker, but the medical examiner's report indicates "over 60 wounds to Walker's body," according to local press reports.

"I’ve been a trial lawyer for 22 years and I’ve never seen anything remotely close to what that video is going to show," said Bobby DiCello, a lawyer for the Walker family, as quoted in a New York Times report.

There has been a spate of killings of African-Americans at the hands of police in different states of the US in recent years, sparking large-scale protests.

The disturbing trend witnessed a surge during the tenure of former US President Donald Trump who occasionally indulged in racist rhetoric.

"Many will wish to air their grievances in public, and I fully support our residents' right to peacefully assemble," Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan declared at a press conference on Sunday, claiming he was "heartbroken" over the events.

"But I hope the community can agree that violence and destruction are not the answer," he added, saying an independent investigation of the incident was underway.

He further said that eight officers involved in Walker's death have been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete.

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