Akron Organizers Release Demands, Call for Accountability
We cannot have negotiations or conversations until there is immediate and long-lasting accountability.
AKRON, OHIO — Akron organizers released a statement with a list of demands for the City of Akron, including the establishment of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Committee to investigate Jayland Walker’s murder, the prosecution of all officers involved in the murder of Jayland Walker, and the release of all peaceful protestors from all jails and holding institutions.
After Joyland Walker’s murder by the Akron Police Department on June 27, Akron organizers peacefully organized and protested the injustice, only to be met with tear gas, unlawful arrests, and militarized weapons and occupation.
When on-the-ground organizers tried to initially hand-deliver their demands to Mayor Horrigan’s house on July 4, tanks and police armed with tactical gear and assault rifles prevented the concerned residents from exercising direct democracy.
Ben Gifford, Finance Chair of Akron Democratic Socialists of America, states: “We came with pieces of paper. They came with guns and body armor and tanks. But we won’t be deterred. Protesters have stayed in the streets and will stay in the streets.”
A coalition of members from The Freedom BLOC, Akron Democratic Socialists of America, and Serve the People Akron met with a representative from the U.S. Department of Justice but the negotiations were not led in good faith. As a result, the organizers released their demand calling for accountability before further negotiations or conversations.
Reverend Raymond Greene, Jr., Executive Director of The Freedom BLOC, states: “We have already negotiated how we will act based on the Constitution. The Constitution gives us a legal right for nonviolent civil disobedience, and they have disrespected the Constitution. Before we negotiate with any terrorist group, such as the Akron Police Department, the City of Akron, or the Mayor, they must meet our demands.”
We will not stop seeking accountability for the injustices committed against Jayland Walker and the organizers of Akron. We are not leaving until we see justice.
The Freedom Black Led Organizing Collaborative (BLOC) was created to build Black political power and to equip the Black community with capacity-building tools for civic education, civic engagement, campaign management, and leadership development. Learn more at www.thefreedombloc.org/home/