Following the release of the body cam footage of the killing of Jayland Walker, several downtown businesses were found with broken storefront windows Monday morning after police used tear gas to disperse crowds late Sunday night.
Due to the damage, the City of Akron has imposed a curfew on downtown Akron from 9 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Akron residents entered their fourth day of protests on Sunday after police shot and killed 25-year-old Walker last Monday morning.
In the hours following the city’s news conference and the release of the body camera video, hundreds of protesters filled the streets and marched from Quaker Square to Akron Police Headquarters and City Hall, making it the largest demonstration to date.
Later that evening, protestors in West Akron and the Highland Square neighborhood were obstructing traffic with loud chants of “We are done dying” and “Justice for Jayland.”
Although mostly peaceful, the street plows used to block off Akron streets were damaged during the protests.
After some protestors had knocked over the barricades enclosing the justice center, what seemed to be tear gas or some other chemical substance was shot into the crowd outside the Akron Police Department building to disperse them. After the tear gas was used, several demonstrators were seen cleaning their eyes.
By Monday, storefront windows on Main Street had their windows busted.
“I’m devastated because this type of riot, destroying property does not really help anyone,” said the owner of one of the local businesses.
Dan Horrigan, the mayor of Akron, made the following statement on Monday: “Early yesterday, we had several peaceful protests in the downtown footprint related to the officer-involved shooting of Jayland Walker. These protests did not escalate to violence and destruction. I want to first thank them. As I stated yesterday, I fully support our residents’ right to peacefully assemble. What we have been calling for since the beginning, and what the Walker family and many community leaders and faith leaders have also urged, is peace. However, as night fell and others began to join, the protests became no longer peaceful. There was significant property damage done to downtown Akron. Small businesses up and down Main St. have had their windows broken. We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence. In light of the damage that has occurred and in order to preserve peace in our community, I have declared a state of emergency, implemented a curfew, and canceled the fireworks which were scheduled for tonight.”
From 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., downtown Akron is under a curfew in the following areas:
North: SR 59 (Perkins St/MLK Jr. Blvd.)
West: SR 59 (MLK Jr. Blvd.)
East: SR 8
Fireworks planned for Monday night in downtown Akron, at Patterson Park Sports Complex, and at Akron Fulton Airport have been postponed.