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Tampa demands justice for Jayland Walker, community control of the police

By staff

Tampa, FL – Tampa community members protested July 4 to demand Justice for Jayland Walker and community control of the police. The protest was organized by the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC) and was held at Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa.

On July 3, the Akron, Ohio Police Department released bodycam footage of the police murder of Jayland Walker. This footage was released after a week of demonstrations in Akron demanding justice. Police officers shot at Walker 90 times, hitting him over 60 times and killing him. The police confirmed that Jayland was unarmed when they shot him.

“This is just another example of police officers gunning down unarmed Black folks in this country,” said David Jones, a member of TBCAC. “We’re here today on July 4, the day people celebrate freedom in this country but we can’t be free while Black people are murdered by the cops in this country.”

The protest also highlighted similarities to the police killing of Jonas Joseph, a Haitian-American man murdered by Tampa Police Department officers.

“Jonas was a 26-year-old, killed in 2020 and in much the same circumstances as Jayland, killed during a traffic stop,” said Joe Nohava, a member of TBCAC. “TPD murdered Jonas after firing 125 rounds at him and his car. And in Jonas’s case, the cops lied, saying at first that he had fired at them, then when that was discovered to be a lie, they then claimed he had a gun in his hand, then that turned out to be a lie.”

The protest also demanded community control of the police. All of the speakers noted that the only way to address police killings was through the establishment of democratically elected Civilian Police Accountability Councils (CPAC). CPAC would allow members of the community to determine how they’re policed, including the ability to hire and fire police officers, set the police budget, and implement police department policies.

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