Protesters have rallied in a North Carolina city in the aftermath of the death of Jason Walker; an unarmed Black man shot and killed by an off-duty police officer.
Relatives of Walker gathered in Fayetteville on Thursday carrying signs and chanting “Jason Walker Matters” to demand justice for Walker, who was killed Saturday by officer Jeffery Hash, who was driving with his wife and daughter.
Hash’s vehicle approached a stop sign where Walker was crossing the street near his parent’s house. Moments later Hash opened fire, taking Walker’s life.
According to Al Jazeera, a video taken at the scene shows Hash telling officers that Walker jumped into the middle of the street, forcing him to slam on his brakes. Hash said Walker then threw himself on the vehicle, tore off a windshield wiper and used it to hit the windshield, which prompted Hash to get out of the vehicle, draw his weapon and fire.
Witnesses, however, tell a different story, saying Hash hit Walker before stopping.
“I saw him brake, completely stop, and then keep going,” Elizabeth Ricks told an ABC station. “I saw him hit Jason … then his body was slammed into the windshield.”
Ricks said she then heard several shots fired.
“I think he fired the first shot through the windshield and three more times outside the vehicle.”
Local police have since said Hash’s vehicle shows no signs of damage, and Walker’s body showed no signs of impact from a vehicle. Hash has not been charged at this point, but has been placed on administrative leave while state investigators conduct a probe into the incident.
Meanwhile, NBC News reports a judge granted a petition Thursday from Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins to publicly release footage she says will show exchanges between the police and witnesses at the scene.
Ben Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, said Walker’s death is another case of shoot first ask questions later.
“We have reason to believe that this was a case of ‘shoot first, ask later,’ a philosophy seen all too often within law enforcement,” Crump told reporters.