US: Protest after unarmed Black man killed by off-duty officer | Police News

Jason Walker was shot and killed by an off-duty officer during a road accident in North Carolina; Judge grants police release of body cam footage.

Protesters swarmed in a North Carolina city after a US judge agreed to release police camera footage showing the aftermath of the murder of Jason Walker, an unarmed black man shot by an off-duty police officer.

Walker’s relatives and Fayetteville residents gathered in the city on Thursday to demand justice for Saturday’s killing, chanting slogans such as “Jason Walker is important.”

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented families of other defenseless blacks killed by police in recent years, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, promised to get to the bottom of the murders.

“The truth will be revealed to Jason Walker,” said Crump, who organized the rally.

The circumstances surrounding Walker’s death remain unclear.

Jeffrey Hash, the off-duty police officer who shot Walker, was driving with his wife and daughter when they approached Walker, a 37-year-old unarmed black man crossing the street near his parents’ home.

Moments later, Hashish opened fire, and Walker soon died of his injuries.

In an amateur video filmed right after the shooting and posted online, Hash explains to fellow officers who were called to the scene that Walker jumped in the middle of the street and hit the brakes to avoid him.

Hash said Walker threw himself on the car, tore a windshield wiper, and used it to hit the windshield, which he said prompted him to pull out his gun and open fire to protect his family.

Witnesses gave a different account, saying that the hash hit Walker with his car before he stopped.

“I saw him brake, and he just stopped, and then he kept going,” Elizabeth Rex told ABC. “I saw him hit Jason…then he hit his body against the windshield.”

Rex said she then heard gunshots.

“I think he fired the first shot through the windshield and three more times outside the car,” she added.

Police said Hashem’s black pickup truck had no visible scratches and that Walker’s body showed no impact other than bullet wounds.

Hashem has been placed on administrative leave but has not been arrested or charged with a crime. State investigators began investigating the murder.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that the judge on Thursday agreed to a petition by Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins to release footage that she says will show an exchange between Fayetteville police officers and three witnesses at the scene of the shooting.

On Thursday night, Crump said the family and the broader Fayetteville community were demanding to know why Walker was “mindlessly shot and killed” by an off-duty officer.

“We have reason to believe this was a ‘shoot first, ask later’ issue, a philosophy we see often within law enforcement,” Crump said in a statement earlier today.

Large-scale protests over racial justice erupted across the United States in 2020 after the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A police officer was later charged with murder and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison, in a rare trial for a law enforcement officer in an accident on the job.

Sporadic protests continued across the United States over other high-profile killings of unarmed blacks, with many advocates calling for broader federal police reforms.

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