FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2022
Contact: Director of Communications
(212) 679-5100, ext. 5
NEW YORK CITY, NY — On June 27, Akron, Ohio police murdered Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man and Akron resident. In the protests that followed, Akron police showed up in riot gear, tear gassing and arresting demonstrators. In the wake of yet another police murder of a Black person, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) joins the Freedom Black Led Organizing Collaborative (BLOC), Akron Democratic Socialists of America (ADSA), and Serve the People Akron in calling for an end to anti-Black police violence and brutality against protesters.
“It is unjust that police are brutalizing and arresting protesters who are mourning the violent police murder of Jayland Walker,” said Sam Heller, Mass Defense Chair of the Ohio NLG Chapter. “Local organizers provided us with a clear, community-driven outline to address ongoing police violence. We want justice, so we support their call to action.”
On Thursday, Akron advocacy groups issued a statement demanding changes to the Akron police force, including abolishing the use of tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets, as well as disarming the police forces sent to meet protests. The statement, co-written by BLOC, ADSA, and Serve the People Akron, provides the city with clear and achievable next steps. The NLG supports these urgent demands as an integral part of building more just alternatives to policing and envisioning community justice beyond the carceral state.
“We are not here to have a conversation when we are under militarized occupation, while thereare guns pointed at us, tear gas and pepper spray choking us,” Akron organizers said in the statement. “We are here to seek accountability. Residents of Akron and surrounding communities are being hurt and are dying.”
The NLG is in solidarity with Akron’s organizers and activists in their fight for justice and will continue to show up alongside movement partners in the streets and in the courtroom.
The National Lawyers Guild has used law to promote human rights over property interests for 85 years. The NLG Legal Observer program trains volunteers to witness police conduct. For more information about NLG’s activist support programs, please visit the NLG website.