Terrified by a social outburst in response to the brutal police execution of Jayland Walker, Dan Horrigan, the Democratic mayor of Akron, Ohio, signed an executive order just before midnight on July 4, declaring a “state of emergency ” in the city.
As part of the emergency, Horrigan effectively canceled Independence Day celebrations in Akron. Three city-planned fireworks have been postponed and Horrigan announced the imposition of an indefinite curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew prohibits the free movement of workers in a prohibited area around the city center, unless they go to work.
The protests continued on Sunday night and Monday after gruesome body camera footage aired on Sunday afternoon. The footage unequivocally shows Walker, a 25-year-old African-American DoorDash delivery driver, posed no threat to police when they fired more than 90 rounds at him in a parking lot, causing at least 60 injuries.
Walker was fleeing police for unknown reasons in the early morning of June 27. After a short vehicle and foot chase, at least eight Akron police officers shot the unarmed Walker, with several continuing to shoot him even after he collapsed.
Footage released by police on Sunday is incomplete because it does not show what happened immediately after cops executed Walker. Walker family attorney Bob DiCello said that after killing Walker, police placed his mutilated corpse under arrest by handcuffing him.
Besides none of the footage showing the aftermath of the police execution, the circumstances as to exactly why the police were trying to arrest Walker have yet to be clarified as none of the body camera footage showing the initial traffic stop has not been released and none of the eight police officers involved in the shooting have yet made a statement publicly or to state investigators, more than a week after the killing.
The curfew imposed by Horrigan on Monday affects several blocks in downtown Akron, including the University of Akron. As protesters continued to gather downtown throughout the day as the start of the 9 p.m. curfew neared, with the police posted on nearby buildings and riot police beginning to congregate in the streets, protesters appeared to have mostly dispersed outside the curfew zone.
On Monday, residents of Akron reported seeing huge police armored personnel carriers and SWAT teams deployed to the city as part of the effort to crush the outpouring of anger and quell demands for justice for Walker and to end police brutality. The images emerging from Akron are starkly reminiscent of those following the militarized occupation of Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014.
In his statement announcing the curfew, Horrigan tried to blame protesters for causing “extensive property damage” in downtown Akron on Sunday night. Horrigan lamented that “small businesses up and down Main Street had their windows smashed.” The Democratic mayor then threatened residents saying he “will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence”.
Horrigan tolerates violence when it comes from the Akron Police Department, which has been recorded tear gas shot directly to peaceful protesters on Sunday evening. While it’s unclear how many people were injured in the police rampage, the department said Monday it had made about 50 arrests of protesters, many of whom were arrested for violating a curfew that just imposed.
Sunday night’s protests were overwhelmingly peaceful and only turned “violent” when police began firing tear gas at protesters. That the police were looking for a confrontation was evident by their decision to light a single floor of police headquarters with a “thin blue line” of lights before beginning their assault.
As police continue to kill more than 1,000 Americans a year, the “thin blue line” symbol has been adopted by police departments nationwide. It signifies the class division between the working class and the bourgeoisie. The police, who enforce inequality, stand between the two classes – a blue line – defending the privileges and property rights of the oppressing class.
About 100 protesters marched to Mayor Horrigan’s home on Monday carrying signs demanding “Justice for Jayland” in a protest organized by the Akron Democratic Socialists of America and the Freedom Black Led Organizing Collaborative, a racist reformist organization led by Raymond Green Jr. At the mayor’s residence, they were met by dozens of heavily armed police in riot gear who prevented the group from approaching the House.
Under conditions of runaway inflation, a perpetual pandemic, the threat of dictatorship, and the ongoing war between NATO and Ukraine against Russia, the American ruling class is using the popular anger sparked by Walker’s murder to intimidate the workers and young people and suppress the growing opposition to the general population. capitalist system. In order to justify the continued attacks on workers’ lives, the most reactionary elements are recruited into the police force and raised by fascists, like former President Donald Trump.
The Akron Police Department, like virtually all police departments in the United States, is riddled with fascists and racists. Emphasizing their fascist credentials and, perhaps, relishing Walker’s murder, the Akron Police Department’s official Facebook account posted a photo the same day they released their statement on Walker’s murder that shows a cop with a fascist tattoo on his wrist.
In the photo, which was released about three hours after their Tuesday statement, the cop on the left has a Totenkopf skull tattoo on his wrist. The “skull” symbol is extremely popular among fascists and was popularized by the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) during World War II.
This Akron cop isn’t the only one who likes to identify with fascist iconography. Last year, the city of Akron chose not to fire or even fire disciplinary officer Phil Senior after his photography last year with a III Percenter logo tattooed on his arm.
Following the city’s announcement that Senior would not be disciplined or fired for his tattoo, which denotes his membership in the fascist militia, Mayor Horrigan released a statement exonerating the cop. Horrigan said he trusted the Akron Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards to investigate on his own and said “some symbols…may represent a range of different meanings over time or between community groups. “.
At least 12 people charged in connection with the January 6 coup are affiliated with the III Percenter militia. The III Percenters, along with the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, spearheaded the assault on Congress as part of Trump’s fascist coup.
Horrigan’s whitewashing of fascists in the Akron Police Department mirrors attempts by Biden and Democrats to exonerate dictator-wish Trump and his Republican co-conspirators for trying to overthrow the government last January.
Both examples show that the defense of democratic rights cannot be left in the hands of the Democrats, a party of Wall Street and war, who would instead align themselves with their “colleague Republicans” and their fascist foot soldiers in the security services. police nationwide to cover not only the daily murders of working-class youths like Walker, but also the full extent of Trump’s coup that had the support of virtually the entire Republican Party, as well as significant sections of the police, military and intelligence agencies.