Eight Ohio police officers who are investigating the shooting death of 25-year-old Jayland Walker, a black man this year, have been reinstated and are back on the job, although they are no longer in uniform or responding to calls for service, the Akron Police Department said.
The officers, whose names have not been released, returned to work Oct. 10, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett told CNN affiliate WEWS, citing “personnel issues” as the decision.
“I recognize that this decision will have an impact and there may be some community concern,” Mylett said last month.
Walker was unarmed when he was shot and killed June 27 while fleeing a traffic stop, and an autopsy revealed he suffered 46 gunshot or fatal wounds. Like other black deaths at the hands of the police, the case sparked days of protests in the city.
All eight officers “directly involved in the shooting” were placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy, immediately after the encounter, Mylett said. Seven are white, and one is black, according to the information released by the municipality.
Walker’s family, his legal team and members of the Akron community sent a letter to Mylett on Oct. 21 expressing disappointment with the department’s decision to reinstate the eight officers.
“Chief Mylett’s justification for his decision that department staffing shortages necessitate their reinstatement is disrespectful to the community and the Walker family,” the letter states.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office of Criminal Investigation’s investigation into the shooting “remains active and ongoing,” Steven Irwin, a spokesman for Attorney General David Yost, told CNN in an email Thursday.
The reinstatement of the officers “does not affect the investigation,” Mylett added. “The investigation will continue.”