Jason Walker shot dead by off-duty officer in North Carolina road accident; judge grants release of police body camera footage
Protesters rallied in a North Carolina city where a U.S. judge approved the release of police body camera footage showing the aftermath of the killing of Jason Walker by an unarmed black man shot by an off-duty police officer.
Walker’s relatives and Fayetteville residents gathered in the city on Thursday to demand justice for Saturday’s killing, chanting slogans such as “Jason Walker Matters.”
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the families of other unarmed black men killed by police in recent years, including George Floyd and Brenna Taylor, promising to track down the truth about the killing.
“Jason Walker will uncover the truth,” said Crump, who organized the rally.
The circumstances of Walker’s killing remain unclear.
The off-duty cop who shot Walker, Jeffrey Hash, was driving near Walker with his wife and daughter when an unarmed 37-year-old black man crossed the street near his parents’ home.
Moments later, Hash opened fire, and Walker was soon killed by the gunshot wound.
In an amateur video filmed and posted online after the shooting, Hash explained to colleagues who were rushed to the scene that Walker had jumped into the middle of the road and he had hit the brakes to avoid him.
Walker then threw himself on the car, tore off the windshield wiper, and used it to hit the windshield, which he said prompted him to draw his weapon and open fire to protect his family, Hash said.
Witnesses offered a different account, saying Hash hit Walker with his car before stopping.
“I saw him brake, come to a complete stop, and move on,” Elizabeth Ricks told ABC radio. “I saw him hit Jason…and then his body hit the windshield.”
Ricks said she then heard gunshots.
“I think he went through the windshield the first time and fired three more shots outside the car,” she added.
Police said Hash’s black pickup truck had no visible dents and Walker’s body showed no signs of impact other than a gunshot wound.
Hash has been placed on administrative leave but has not been arrested or charged with a crime. State investigators have opened an investigation into the killing.
On Thursday, a judge approved a petition by Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins to publicly release footage she said would show Fayetteville, the Fayetteville Observer reported. Communication between police and three witnesses at the scene of the shooting.
On Thursday night, Crump said his family and the wider Fayetteville community demanded to know why Walker was “senselessly shot and killed” by an off-duty officer.
“We have reason to believe that this is a case of ‘shoot first, ask later’, a philosophy that is often seen in law enforcement,” Crump said in a statement earlier in the day.
In 2020, widespread racial justice protests erupted across the United States following the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.A policeman later charged with murder Sentenced To a 22-and-a-half-year prison sentence, it is a rare case of a law enforcement officer being prosecuted in an on-the-job incident.
Intermittent protests continue across the U.S. around other high-profile killings of unarmed blacks, with many advocates calling for broader federal reform to police.