(AKRON, Ohio) — Two relatives of police shooting victims were arrested Wednesday in Akron, Ohio, on rioting charges for allegedly protesting the police shooting of Jayland Walker.
Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake — as well as Bianca Austin, a relative of Breonna Taylor — were arrested on first-degree misdemeanor rioting charges, ABC Affiliate WEWS found.
Wednesday night was the first without a curfew since the body camera footage of Walker’s death was published. Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, was reportedly unarmed when eight Ohio officers opened fire on him on June 27, fatally shooting him after a traffic stop turned into a pursuit.
Akron police allege that Walker shot at them before he exited his car and ran away from police. A gun was recovered in the car, according to officials.
The officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation being led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The shooting sparked protests similar to those that erupted after other incidents of police violence that also made national headlines — including Blake’s and Taylor’s.
Blake was shot seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in an incident that left him partially paralyzed. No police officers were charged in Blake’s shooting, with Kenosha County District Attorney Michael D. Graveley saying that he did not believe “the State could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Sheskey was not acting lawfully in self-defense or defense of others.”
Taylor was fatally gunned down when three Louisville, Kentucky, police officers executed a “no-knock” search warrant on her home. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he thought they were intruders and shot at the officers, who returned fire with more than 25 bullets, killing Taylor.
No police officers were charged directly for Taylor’s death after a grand jury declined to charge any officers.
“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by [the officers] was justified to protect themselves,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at the time. “This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.”
Both of these incidents prompted protests nationwide as they collided with other incidents of police violence such as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Blake Sr. and Austin were not together when they were arrested. The two were arraigned Thursday morning and its unclear if they have offered pleas to the charges.
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