Businesses board up windows to prepare for possible protest in Walker case
Barricades line the sidewalk in front of the Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center in Akron while a grand jury decides whether to indict eight police officers in the death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker.
In June of 2022, Walker was fatally shot more that 40 times by officers during a chase. Police said Walker fired at them while fleeing a traffic stop but no weapon was found on him.
After his death, protest broke out on Main Street in Akron demanding action against those officers.
“The police pushed, they do their march and they go down the street slowly, so they pushed all the protestors to my end of the road … so all our windows got broken out and it got pretty crazy down here,” Christopher Sedlock, Owner of Twisted Tomato and Daily Pressed said about what happened to his business back in July of 2022.
Those same businesses are boarding up their windows ahead of another possible protest when a decision from the jury is made.
“This is just precautionary,” James Crooks, bartender at Tear-EZ said about boarding up the windows. “There's no way of telling what will happen. Its individual thoughts and processes.”
“I believe in the justice system. I believe in people,” Sedlock said. “I think the jury is going to do what they need to do and I’m hoping for a positive outcome.”
Sedlock said they have been seeing fewer customers since the windows were boarded up but he will be keeping them just in case. Some passing by the boarded up businesses said it makes downtown Akron look like a war zone.
If the officers are not indicted, some have already decided that they will be protesting.
“At the end of the day we just want accountability for what happened to this young man,” Jawuan Arnold, an Akron resident said. “No one deserves to die and I feel like the culture really needs to change or we’re constantly going to be seeing this same tired song and dance.”
Owners said they’re preparing for the worst but hoping for the best as they wait for the decision from the grand jury.