Equality Ohio Statement on Police Violence in the Wake of Another Preventable Death

July 22, 2021

We stand with the family of Jayland Walker, as they have recently laid him to rest in Akron, Ohio—a place and community dear to our hearts. We join with all who gather to mourn yet another senseless death at the hands of a power dynamic with a dwindling moral compass. We remember the countless other times where something ‘routine’ has ended in the death of a Black person. We see the faltering success rates of police in communities who need resources most. 

We know that this will not end until systemic change ensues. We see the constant inconsistencies in how white men are apprehended by police, even when they commit extreme violence, versus the rest of us. We know that police can apprehend both unarmed and armed people without violence. We call proper training to the center. We call racial justice to the center. We call a sound moral compass to the center. 

Police departments—like all institutions in the United States—have been built on a foundation of racism. We hold each individual officer accountable, and we also hold the systems in place accountable. We cannot hold one without the other. We ask when it will end. 

We continue to educate ourselves about issues impacting policing and police systems. We do not believe them when they say there is no other way. We see every other developed nation in the world implementing sensible gun laws—not easing them in a time of national crisis as Ohio has recently done. There are obstacles to reform, but we know it is possible. We call for police reform now. 

We fight towards justice, towards liberation, towards love and truth. We call for police to live in the communities they serve, to know the people that they serve, and to remember—you are at work because of our tax dollars. We call on the Ohio government to pass police reform proposals such as HB 1267, passed in Washington State last year. We call on the U.S. Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice Act without further delay. We call our hearts and minds to act in truth. 

We know that excuses will be made—that blame will be given to victims. We encourage our audience to dig deeper. Jayland’s death, and so many others who have died at the hands of gun and police violence in the United States, could have been prevented if we had a policing system that acted like guardians of the community, respecting the dignity that we all deserve. 

To support Justice for Jayland Walker, visit Serve the People Akron’s Linktree.