Matt Taibbi Police Accountability Police Violence Protest

TAIBBI: Activism, Uncensored: Akron Explodes in Protest After Police Killing

A dubious traffic stop leads to 90 shots fired at an unarmed fleeing 25-year-old, Jayland Walker

By Ford Fischer and Matt Taibbi / Substack

When the concept of bodycams was introduced, a lot of people thought it would be panacea, leading either to the end of police brutality or the easy weeding-out of bad actors. One might remember Barack Obama asking for $263 million for bodycams in the wake of Ferguson, saying police shootings were a “national problem” and he was committed to rolling back a “militarized culture.”

Police and community activists alike were skeptical. Footage, we were told, would mysteriously disappear, or would be edited to leave out key context (both police unions and activists talked about this). All of these problems are present in the story described by Ford Fischer’s News2Share crew in Akron, Ohio, involving the police shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker and the protests in the city afterward.

We hear Ford asking why there’s no dash-cam footage, and no footage of the critical encounter, and although we do see police hitting Walker with as many as 60 bullets, we don’t see why.

The commonality with almost every infamous police killing, from Eric Garner to Sandra Bland to Freddie Gray to this one, is a problematic stop. Police are incentivized to accumulate arrests and summonses — remember in Ferguson it subsequently came out that the City Finance Director had written to the Chief of Police long before the fateful events, saying, “unless ticket writing ramps up significantly before the end of the year, it will be hard to significantly raise collections” — so you see a lot of fatal incidents begin with stops for loitering, improper lane changes, “obstructing traffic,” or in this case, an unspecified “equipment violation.”

All of this is on display in this typically excellent News2Share video chronicle, which captures the bizarre official explanation for the shooting, followed by tense protests that end with dumpster fires, smashed barricades, and the use of tear gas.

Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Divide, Griftopia, and The Great Derangement, was a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary.

Ford Fischer
Ford Fischer

Ford Fischer is a filmmaker, videojournalist, and the editor-in-chief of News2Share, where he specializes in collecting raw footage and livestream of political activism.

7 comments

  1. Thank you, Akron. I never lived there, however it was once a center on American production. Then, our ‘leaders’ decided to ‘offshore’ and left Akron a shambles. I lived for a time in Cleveland, worked a bit in a steel mill (long gone), so …

    Why do Americans allow the destruction of their own cities? This country is sick, and needs to consider another cure. Capitalism and the programmed division (by the rulers) of racism is killing this country.

  2. America’s infantile “logic” suggests a nation birthed on theft, cannibalism, and back-stabbing treachery to be highlighted as a sparkling example of how to remain prosperous. So shooting Itself in the [REDACTED] shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s just that America never learns from the egregious mistakes She makes because of… “exceptionalism.”

    Grow up… or is it already too late?

  3. YouTube is forcing people to sign in to watch this video, which I refuse to do. YT could also completely pull it. Ford Fisher, please post your videos on an alternative platform like Odysee so that more people can view them.

  4. Yes police do make traffic stops, and it results in revenue, just as criminals steal catalytic converters and reap the rewards. We don’t shoot them for stealing, just as motorists are not allowed to shoot at police (who profit).Once that rule is violated, the cost goes up, and it could be your life either way. Mr Walker did not need to be shot 60 times, he was most likely dead after 4-5, the rest was needless, but probably didn’t matter in the end. I understand Walker had recently lost a loved one. That can be very hard to cope with. RIP.

    1. Correction.
      ALL OF THE SHOTS FIRED WERE NEEDLESS.
      What was going through your mind, when you decided to write that 4 or 5 were what was needed?

      1. southpaw, What was going through the officers minds is a more relevant question? They had been fired upon, and had no way of knowing that he was not currently armed, he makes a clear move at his waist, and responded. Would you have them disengage, and risk further public safety? The man had options he failed to take advantage of. I have been pulled over and ticketed, it sucks, but It is not a death sentence unless you make it one.

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