Candidates for Jacksonville sheriff weigh in on deadly police shooting of Akron man

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A police shooting of a Black man in Ohio is sparking more talk around the country, about how officers use force.

Police in Akron released body camera video of the shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker. The shooting happened last Monday after an attempted traffic stop. Police say he was NOT armed when he was shot - but officers believed he had shot at them earlier and was preparing to fire again.

Sunday night - crowds gathered in Akron to protest the shooting. The mayor called the shooting “heartbreaking” - and asked for patience from the community. The mayor said demonstrators broke windows in Downtown Akron - so he put an overnight curfew in place for the area.

News4JAX reached out Monday to the candidates in Jacksonville’s race for sheriff, asking about the issues of police shootings and body camera video.

Jim Piggott reached out to all five, and as of late afternoon Monday, heard back from four of them.

While no gun was found on Jayland Walker when he was shot and killed after running from the scene, police did find a gun in his car. The footage shows what police say are flashes of light from gunfire in Walker’s car.

It’s not clear how many shots were fired – but Walker was hit more than 60 times.

In Jacksonville, the shooting has many questioning what the outcome of this investigation will be.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Candidate Wayne Clark said, “There is some explaining to do...why eight officers shot so many times at one person.”

News4JAX asked Clark about body cam video, and if JSO’s policy works.

“So I know we can tweak our policy let me just say that one of the things we can do a better job is transparency by getting in front of stories,” Clark said.

Candidate Dr. Tony Cummings released this statement “These type of incidences erode the public’s trust in law enforcement and must be heavily scrutinized by those in power if that trust is to ever be regained.”

Candidate Ken Jefferson said that it appears there was an excessive use of force. He believes the way JSO handles police involved shootings needs to change and be investigated by an outside agency.

“I think JSO needs to re-examine once the new sheriff gets in,” Jefferson said. “I think that that Sheriff needs to re-examine that policy along with public record policies. Make some drastic changes because it doesn’t make any sense the way it’s being done now.”

And Candidate Lakesha Burton issued this statement: “The events in Akron are tragic and so hard to watch - the incident itself and the aftermath. This is an ongoing investigation and I am confident we will be learning more as it unfolds. Now more than ever, finding the pathways to build up relationships is a critical need for so many communities including ours.”

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.