Akron, Ohio, temporarily bans use of nonlethal force on protesters

Officials and advocates agree to a 14-day restriction that allows litigation and negotiations to continue

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AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in an Ohio city have agreed to temporarily bar the use of tear gas, pepper spray and other types of nonlethal force against nonviolent protesters, a move that comes after it was sued following a protest over a grand jury’s decision to not indict police officers who shot and killed a Black motorist.

Akron officials and lawyers for the Akron Bail Fund — a group that supports protesters — reached the agreement late Friday after a federal court session that lasted for several hours. Bail fund officials had sought a temporary restraining order to block the use of nonlethal force, but the two sides instead agreed to a 14-day restriction that allows the litigation and negotiations to continue.

Protesters march along South High Street on Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Akron, Ohio, calling for justice for Jayland Walker after he was fatally shot by Akron Police earlier in the week, following a vehicle and foot pursuit. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal via AP, File)

The legal action came about after a protest Wednesday in which police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters after the gathering was deemed an unlawful assembly.

Akron has seen a few protests after a state grand jury on Monday declined to indict eight police officers who fired 94 shots in the death of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man who fired at least one round at officers during a car and foot chase last summer,.

Walker was shot 46 times in a hail of gunfire that lasted just under seven seconds and roiled yet another city amid heightened tensions with police over the killing of a Black man that started with a routine traffic stop.

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