Demonstrators marched Sunday, Jan. 9, through the streets of Fayetteville, N.C., to demand justice for a Black man who was fatally shot the day before by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy. A probe into the shooting was turned over to state investigators after there were inconsistencies in the original police report and the evidence.
The Associated Press reports that protesters gathered outside the Fayetteville police station Sunday to demand answers about the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Jason Walker, 37, by the deputy who was not immediately identified by the authorities.
According to the initial police account, Walker “ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle,” the AP reported. The driver was an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy who shot Walker and then called 911. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.
At a press briefing on Sunday, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins contradicted her department’s original account of the incident, local station WTVD reported. She revealed that the vehicle’s on-board computer did not register an impact to the truck by “any person or thing.” She added that a windshield wiper was torn off the truck and the metal portion used to break the vehicle’s windshield. The investigation has been turned over to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Hawkins said.
At the demonstration, a witness named Elizabeth Rick, a trauma nurse, said Walker was simply trying to cross the street to get to his home when the deputy’s truck struck him and then was shot by the law enforcement officer, according to the AP. She gave him medical care before the EMT arrived.
“I did not see anyone in distress. The man was just walking home,” said Ricks.
The video below is circulating on social media. It purports to show the scene in the aftermath of the shooting as the police and EMT arrive.
Walker’s family described him as a happy-go-lucky man with a big heart, WRAL reported.
"I was sad. That’s my best friend. We were really close," Walker’s Cousin Brittany Monroe told the station. "It really broke my heart because he would never hurt anyone. I don’t understand how it could happen to him. He would do anything for anybody."