Fliers claiming to have uncovered the names of the eight Akron, Ohio, police officers involved in the June 27 murder of 25-year-old Jayland Walker appeared throughout the city over the weekend and on social media.
As of this writing, at least 75 people have been arrested on trumped up charges for protesting the killing of Walker, including family members of Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake who journeyed to Akron in expression of solidarity with victims of police violence earlier this summer.
While hundreds of workers and youth have been injured or arrested for peacefully protesting Walker’s murder, on October 10, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett announced that the eight officially unidentified cops involved in the killing of Walker would be ending their paid vacation and returning to duty. This is despite the fact that the Ohio Bureau Criminal of Investigation inquiry into the police officers actions is still ongoing and expected to last for several more months.
Mylett claimed that his actions were necessary because of a “crisis” in staffing at the department, and that the killer cops would only be relegated to “desk duty.” The chief’s decision to bring back the uncharged cops provoked outrage throughout the community.
Three weeks after the killer cops returned to duty, fliers were posted throughout the former tire capital of the world with a picture of the cast from the Scooby Doo cartoon with the headline “Did we find the cops who killed Jayland?” Next to the picture is a QR code with the website URL releasethenames.com.
The website was published on October 29, 2022, and the only identification listed on the site is “admin.” On the website, a link to the “full report” states: “Cross-referencing 47 pieces of information from the personnel files of the officers involved in the killing of Jayland Walker with publicly available information sources produced eight names of individuals employed by the Akron Police Department.”
On the fliers and on the website, the names of eight cops listed are: Matthew Tyler Ritzinger, Cory Anthony Siegferth, Dylan James Carmany, Joseph M. Filimon, Joshua Scott Getz, Judd Allen Bishop, Justin D. Trawick and Katee Lenae Sweeney.
At the bottom of the paper fliers are tear-off strips that read “Demand Justice” with a phone number to the Akron Police Department.
On the website, the author notes “While this report lays out likely matches to the identities of the eight involved officers, it is ultimately up to Akron officials to be transparent and hold officers accountable.”
This is something the Akron Police Department, and every other police department in the US and throughout the world, has refused to do for decades and will never do as long as capitalism, the economic system which they defend, exists.
The police are an instrument of class rule and are impervious to “reform.” They do not exist to “protect and serve the community,” they are, in fact, given billions of dollars by Democrats and Republicans alike to uphold inequality and capitalist property rights.
Each of the names on the website has links to publicly available information, such as government documents, YouTube videos and newspaper clippings, demonstrating that the redacted police files match the identified cops.
Asked to comment on the veracity of the names by the Akron Beacon Journal, Chief Mylett refused to confirm or deny its accuracy. Attorneys for the Walker family, Bobby DiCello and Kenneth Abbarno, likewise told the Beacon Journal that they too had yet to verify “the accuracy of the information.”
While it is unclear at this time if these eight officers are indeed Walker’s killers, it is notable that the police did not deny the information, nor has it been dismissed by Beacon Journal reporters, who have had access to the same personnel files according to their November 1 article on the release of the names.
Revealingly, the Beacon Journal article on the release of the alleged names noted that the paper had already coordinated with “the city’s law department” to obtain the names and emails of everyone who had previously requested the police personnel files in an attempt to expose the identity of the person(s) who appears to have identified the killer cops.
Since the murder of Walker in June, Chief Mylett, working in concert with Democratic Mayor Dan Horrigan and a compliant local press, have suppressed the names of the eight cops who shot the fleeing and unarmed man at least 46 times.
Seeking to squash popular outrage at one of the more heinous of the 970 police killings so far this year in the US, after details of the killing began to emerge, Chief Mylett attempted in a July 3 press conference to present a false narrative to justify police shooting over 90 rounds at Walker.
Despite Mylett’s efforts, the heavily edited police body camera footage unequivocally demonstrated that the cops who chased after and shot Walker were not in any danger when they executed the young African American DoorDash delivery driver, former Amazon worker and high school wrestler.
After releasing a small portion of the body camera footage, which did not show police actions after the shooting nor the circumstances that led up to the police chase initially, the Akron Police, with the assistance of the FBI and the Democratic Party, instituted a nightly curfew and virtually outlawed protests.
Defying police repression, community and family members continued to protest throughout the summer demanding “Justice for Jayland.”