The family of Jayland Walker want the Department of Justice to take over the investigation into his killing. Taking a moment out of a day that was otherwise spent celebrating Jayland’s birthday, the family held a press conference on Wednesday explaining the new call for action.
Bobby DiCello, attorney for the Walker family, told reporters Wednesday that the DOJ needed to take over the investigation insinuating that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation could not be trusted to reach a just conclusion. He pointed to recent interviews with local media by the police union president and suggested the integrity of the investigation was in jeopardy.
“All of these questions raise enormous concerns for the integrity of an investigation that the entire world is watching,” DiCello said. “For the integrity of an investigation that a city and state depend on. Make no doubt about this. The bureau of criminal investigation in the Attorney General’s office was brought in to maintain some form of trust, some form of integrity in this investigation.
According to local news, the state bureau denied that any information had been provided to the police union while asserting the rights of officers to have a right to counsel. DiCello said folks trying to defend the 90 bullets discharged at Jayland would make this entire process more difficult.
“Our hearts are heavy today because we had to begin Jayland’s birthday with this strange need that law enforcement seems to have always get the last word in when someone dies,” he said. “Let me give everybody on that side of this conversation a tip. The more you focus on Jayland, the better things are going to be. The more you focus on the change that we need in this community, the better things are going to be.”
The family now joins the NAACP’s request for the probe. The national civil rights organization first issued the call for DOJ intervention a week ago.
Judy Hill, president of the Akron Chapter of the NAACP, called for the city to enact reforms, including prohibiting high-speed chases for simple equipment violations.
“There’s no justification for 90 bullets,” she said. “There’s no justification for killing someone for a traffic stop. There are things that we can do in our city to protect our residents in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
DiCello said the family has been patient with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and now is the time for the DOJ to step in.
“We’ve given it that opportunity, and now we are calling on the Department of Justice to replace the bureau of criminal investigation,” DiCello said. “This is no empty call. I’ve spoken with Sen. Sherrod Brown. He is facilitating our dialogue with the Department of Justice.”
Watch the full press conference from Cleveland 19 below:
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