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 as 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 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 taken after the shooting and posted online, Hash explained to officers at the scene that Walker jumped into the middle of the road and he hit the brakes to avoid him.
Hash said Walker then threw himself on the car, ripped off the windshield wiper, and hit the windshield with it, which he said prompted him to draw his weapon and open fire to protect his family.
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.
A judge on Thursday approved a petition by Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins to publicly release footage she said would show Fayetteville police officers, the Fayetteville Observer reported. Communication with three witnesses at the shooting scene.
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 ‘shoot first, ask later’ case, a philosophy often seen by 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.