The US city of Akron, Ohio has declared a state of emergency and imposed an overnight curfew downtown after hundreds of protesters marched through the streets to denounce the police killing of a Black man.
Mayor Daniel Horrigan announced the 9pm-6am curfew in a statement on Monday, saying that peaceful protests demanding justice for Jayland Walker had escalated and led to “significant property damage”.
“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,” said Horrigan, adding the curfew would be in effect until further notice.
Demonstrators rallied on Sunday to call for justice for Walker, who was fatally shot by police last week in the Rust Belt city in another incident of deadly police violence against Black people in the United States.
It was the fourth – and largest – protest in as many days, and came hours after body camera footage of Walker’s killing was released, showing police firing dozens of shots as they pursued the 25-year-old after he fled a traffic stop.
Police have said Walker posed a deadly threat to officers.
But advocates say the killing was unjustified, with Derrick Johnson, president of the influential US civil rights group National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), calling it: “Murder. Point blank.”
“During the pursuit, officers reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle,” the statement said.
After several minutes, the car slowed down and Walker fled on foot and police chased him into a nearby parking lot.
“Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them,” the statement said. “In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect.”
Walker died at the scene.
At a press conference on Sunday, Police Chief Steve Mylett said more than 60 wounds were found on Walker’s body but further investigation is needed to determine exactly how many rounds the officers fired and how many times Walker was hit.