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Akron Lifts Curfew After Vandalism, Arrests of Walker Death Protesters

Akron officials lifted a two-night curfew put into place after police arrested dozens and vandals damaged property during weekend protests of the police shooting of Jayland Walker. Businesses across downtown Akron were boarded up Wednesday. City dump trucks closed off streets around government buildings, and barricades to contain possible protests were in place, reports the Wall Street Journal. Over the holiday weekend, July 4 events were canceled after downtown businesses’ windows were broken and government vehicles damaged. News coverage of protests outside the mayor’s home on July 4 appeared to show dozens of people chanting “defund the police” while tactical police stood on the sidewalk.

Mayor Dan Horrigan said Tuesday the city needed one more night of curfew to ensure public safety. He signed the curfew late on July 3 as dozens of protesters and vandals were being arrested after that day’s release of police video showing officers firing dozens of rounds at Walker after he fled from a traffic stop. Even as curfews damped evening protests, local advocates for change to police tactics said they want long-term activism to continue. “We do not want the pressure to go away, we want real systemic change,” said Judi Hill, president of the Akron Branch of the NAACP. “That’s everybody’s concern: That this doesn’t become just another sound bite and one news story.” On June 27, the 27-year-old Walker, a Black man, fled from police at a traffic stop. He was shot dozens of times by police and was later determined to be unarmed when he was killed. The police department released body-worn camera footage of the chase and shooting on July 3, which prompted peaceful demonstrations during the day and in the evening included vandalism and violence.


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