Ben Crump joins Jason Walker’s family in call for justice after police killing

"He was supposed to be trained to protect and serve life, not to take life," said Crump.

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Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has called on authorities in Fayetteville, North Carolina to release “the truth” about the death of Jason Walker,  a 37-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy. 

State authorities in North Carolina are investigating the fatal shooting of Walker, 37, who was killed by Cumberland County deputy Jeffrey Hash on Jan. 8 during a traffic dispute, theGrio previously reported. Local authorities have asked the state Bureau of Investigation to determine exactly what happened during the incident, which has led to protests in the surrounding community.

Authorities say Jason Walker, 37, was fatally shot by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy on Jan. 8, 2021. (Credit: Facebook)

Speaking at a protest Thursday night in Fayetteville,  Crump called the shooting “unacceptable” amid chants from the crowd of “Jason Walker matters.”

“All we’re asking for is the truth,” Crump said, noting that a trained officer should have deescalated the incident, The Hill reports.

According to multiple reports, witnesses claim Walker was walking across the street when Hash, who is white, hit him with his car and then got out and shot him multiple times. 

Hash reportedly claims Walker walked in front of his car, jumped on the hood, tore off a windshield wiper, and beat the windshield with it, which prompted the officer to fire his weapon. 

A self-identified trauma nurse named Elizabeth Ricks told authorities Walker was standing on the side of the road waiting for a car to pass before he tried to cross the street and was hit by Hash’s truck, according to the newspaper. Ricks and her boyfriend Chase Sorrell said they were driving in a vehicle two car lengths behind Hash’s truck when she spotted Walker.

Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins said Ricks’ story is not supported by the evidence, according to the Fayetteville Observer. Audio from Hash’s 911 call, which was obtained by the newspaper, revealed Hash repeatedly told a dispatcher Walker jumped on his red Ford F-150 pickup truck before being shot.

“I was driving down the road and he came flying across Bingham Drive, running, and then I stopped so I wouldn’t hit him and he jumped on my car and started screaming,” Hash told the dispatcher, referring to Walker. “[He] pulled my windshield wipers off, and started beating my windshield and broke my windshield. … I had my wife and my daughter in my vehicle.”

“Did he have any weapons, sir?” the dispatcher asked. 

“No, he just tore my wipers off and started beating,” Hash responded. “He busted my windshield. I don’t know, ma’am.”

Hawkins said at a Sunday news conference that the windshield was indeed torn off Hash’s vehicle, a red truck, and there were cracks on the windshield.

Amid the protests and an internal investigation of the shooting, Hash has been placed on administrative leave. 

“He was supposed to be trained to protect and serve life, not to take life,” Crump told the crowd at the protest on Thursday. 

Walker leaves behind a 14-year-old son.

This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Chauncey Alcorn.

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